Yarn Mania

Crocheted Halloween Door Wreath

It’s amazing what you can do with imagination, yarn, and a crochet hook!

Ready for his closeup.

Almost good enough to eat.

Welcome, trick-or-treaters!

Enjoy the season, everybody!

PeggyCrocheted Halloween Door Wreath
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Almost Good Enough To Eat

Knit and Nibble combined! How could I resist these?  Cupcakes? Or ice cream in paper cups? No matter–they looked very tasty.

The loops on top suggest they were created as Christmas tree decorations, but with their evocation of summery pleasures like picnics and trips to.the ice cream shop, they seemed perfect for an August Yarn Mania post.

They even came in various flavors. Here’s strawberry? Or perhaps cherry?

Pistachio? Mint? The bugle beads make convincing sprinkles and the sequins add a touch of glamour.

Lemon sherbet? With a cherry on top? But then what are the green things on top of the strawberry ones?

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

PeggyAlmost Good Enough To Eat
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So Sweet–Woven-Square Baby Blanket

This is a garage-sale find from long ago. You can see that, befitting a baby blanket, the colors are soft pastels: pink and blue accented with pale yellow. Since it surely dates from an era before parents could know before a baby’s birth whether they would be welcoming a girl or a boy, the creator of this blanket seemingly wanted to allow for either possibility.

Recently I looked at it more closely and realized that it uses the same woven-square technique as the interesting vintage find I posted about in February of 2018, a woven-square blanket with squares of salmon-pink and two shades of green. In response to that post I received a most informative email from Barbara Minerd, a retired professor of visual communication. She confirmed that, as I had suspected, the squares were made individually and then sewn together, and she said they likely were created using the ‘Weave-It’ loom made by Hero Manufacturing Co., Inc., in Middleboro, Massachusetts.

Modern versions of these weaving kits–plastic, of course–are available from craft and hobby shops like Michaels, but vintage versions, including the authentic ‘Weave-It,’ can be found on Etsy and eBay.

The squares in the baby blanket are exactly the same size as the ones in the salmon-pink and green blanket, 3″ by 3″, but the creator of the baby blanket has added a bit of complexity. Some of the squares have plaid effect, the result of varying the colors of the warp and weft strands.

And some introduce an interesting surface pattern of nubs created by passing the weft strand over more than one warp strand at once.

The edges of the blanket are plain yellow, alternating smooth squares with the nubby pattern. Here’s a smooth square.

And here’s a nubby square.

Just to make things interesting, the corner squares are plaid.

The seams that join the squares together are more conspicuous on the reverse side.

Here’s another view of the blanket.

PeggySo Sweet–Woven-Square Baby Blanket
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Ready for the Easter Parade

I found this charming crocheted Easter bonnet at an estate sale. There was much other evidence too that the house’s occupant had been a devoted crafter.

The crochet technique is used very cleverly on the brim.

It’s hard to tell the scale here, but it is sized as if to fit a doll. It would not fit very securely on the wearer’s head however. Here is the underside.

It makes a very handy pincushion though–perhaps even for hatpins.

PeggyReady for the Easter Parade
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Crocheted Elephant Hand Puppet

I found this crocheted elephant hand puppet at an estate sale a few months ago. The color is realistic (sort of) and he has so much personality!

Here he is at rest.

The back of the head was created using the basic “crochet a circle” technique.

The ear = crochet an oval.

A foot, with embroidered toenails.

And such a nice smile!

PeggyCrocheted Elephant Hand Puppet
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Hand-Knit Christmas Tree Ornaments

My sister Heidi made these knitted Christmas tree ornaments for my mother. My mother is gone now and the ornaments have come to me.


Each one is different, but they all use various Nordic designs–and some have a special holiday touch of sparkle.

Here’s a reindeer.

A stylized snowflake.

And a sweet little bird.

Heidi described the process of creating the balls as “like knitting a sock–four needles. You start with a very few stitches and increase, then decrease again.” The technique used to create the designs is often called Fair Isle knitting or stranded colorwork knitting. The key thing is that the color not in use is carried across the back. Heidi’s pattern for the yarn balls came from Arne & Carlos, Norwegian craftspeople and designers. Their website includes an online shop offering many, many wonderful patterns, for sweaters, toys–all sorts of things, most involving Nordic designs. They also post on YouTube and have a very entertaining blog.

Here’s a closeup of the bottom of one so you can see the increasing happening.

And here’s a closeup of the top.

They don’t have to go on a tree.

Or . . .

Happy Holidays to All!

PeggyHand-Knit Christmas Tree Ornaments
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Chihuahua-Sized Dog Sweater

I found this wonderful creation in a bin of miscellaneous objects at an estate sale. I love anything made with variegated yarn, so the eye-catching colors were what first attracted me.

When I picked it up and examined it, I realized it had to be some sort of garment, with arm-holes and a button-up front, and it had been lovingly crocheted–perhaps for cat. Naturally I had to buy it!

As I was settling up with the person running the sale, I commented on what a curious and fun treasure I had found and suggested it might be for a cat. No, he said. The woman who owned the house had been a chihuahua lover–“teacup chihuahuas,” the really tiny ones, and had owned two of them. I guess the rest of their wardrobes moved with them. Perhaps this garment was too gaudy for their tastes.

PeggyChihuahua-Sized Dog Sweater
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A Blast from the Past: 1970s Granny-Square Afghan

It seems odd to be writing about something as cozy as an afghan with temperatures here in northern New Jersey hovering in the 80s and 90s, but anyway . . .

My mother found this afghan in a thrift shop and gave it to me because of my fondness for granny squares. I don’t know if it’s really from the 1970s, but the color scheme certainly brings that era to mind. The browns and greens so popular then were a holdover from the 1960s back-to-nature vibe–or a reaction against some of the psychedelic color schemes of the previous decade? And since it had been 20 years since the 1950s, turquoise and peach had cycled back into favor.

I lived through the 1970s and I recall being drawn to homey arts and crafts, and music like bluegrass, which seemed comforting perhaps–given what was going on in the world at large (not that things are any calmer at the moment). I also recall making several granny-square projects, but nothing as ambitious as an afghan.

When my husband and I bought our house in 1979, the living room was painted avocado green and the dining room was harvest gold. We were horrified and reacted by painting everything white–never mind that several decades later our living room walls are peach!

Here are close-ups of some of the squares, which are much larger than the ones that make up the afghans I’ve featured in other blog posts. Granny squares can actually go on and on. You could make a whole afghan that was one giant granny square since they’re constructed from the center outward.

Here we have orange and rust and two shades of green–plus harvest gold.

Here’s another one . . . green and more harvest gold, and peach in the center.

And another one . . . a different shade of brown, and tan, and peach and turquoise!

Not sure what happened here–multicolored ombre yarn perhaps? No other squares are like this.

I like the design of this afghan too. The stripe livens things up.

Here’s a fun website that shows lots of typical 1970s color schemes.

PeggyA Blast from the Past: 1970s Granny-Square Afghan
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Cozy Mickey Mouse Afghan

I found this Mickey Mouse afghan at an estate sale. Its creator had been a whirlwind of knitting and crocheting activity in her lifetime, according to the daughter who was running the sale, and an entire room was filled with knitted and crocheted creations. I came away with many many treasures and could easily have browsed for another hour. The daughter was quite happy to be finding good homes for her mother’s enormous output.

. The details are amazing, the colors are perfect, and I love the lacy border. Here’s Mickey’s face up close.

What’s the point of an afghan, though, if one doesn’t cuddle up in it?

PeggyCozy Mickey Mouse Afghan
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Needlepoint Cat Pillows

My mother was a devoted crafter, even doing her own upholstery! She knit–including argyle socks, sewed clothes for herself and her children as well as elaborate drapes, turned out quilt after quilt . . . I hardly recall her ever being idle. As she got older, she turned to needlepoint. She left a needlepoint project unfinished when she died last summer at the age of 99. One of her grand-daughters is now finishing it.

Shopping for gifts became very easy when she entered the needlepoint phase: needlepoint kits were always appreciated. Usually the kits were intended to become pillows once the design was worked, and my sister became adept at adding the backing and stuffing that would transform them.

Several of the needlepoint pillows have now come down to me. Because of the cats in my Knit & Nibble mysteries, I ended up with a batch of . . . CATS!

This one is quite realistic. The needlepoint design does an amazing job of capturing the effect of a calico cat–or maybe tortoiseshell.

Here’s a close-up of the face. I love the whiskers.

Here’s one that poses a cat against a stylized field of flowers. My mother liked kits with a lot of detail rather than those where the fun of working the central design was followed by the boring task of filling in a solid background. This cat seems to be a black and white tabby.

I feel like the kitty is staring right at me.

And this one is more fanciful. As I recall, the kit was a gift from me–a striking tortoiseshell cat with green eyes.

There’s a kind of desperate look in the eyes, as if to say, “Why are you making me wear this silly outfit?”

For the interested needlepointer–the kits came from Ehrman Tapestry. The company really produces lovely designs.

PeggyNeedlepoint Cat Pillows
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