Thursday, December 19, 2013

Free Pattern and Tutorial: "Fmelted Plarn" coasters






No, its not totally mumbo-jumbo or a typo, but I did make it up. So what is it?...





  When you crochet or knit with certain fabrics, it can be felted. How do you do that with a plarn project?... Melt it! Using an iron on low temperature, some wax paper, and your finished project, you can turn ordinary plarn into solid plastic. Let's get started!


See How to make Plarn
Now with matching Basket


Notes on "Fmelting":

  • If you have ever worked with fusing perler beads, this works (and smells) the same way. Make sure you have plenty of ventilation. You will be melting plastic, and its a really bad idea to inhale a bunch of fumes.
  • You will be using a hot iron. Use the usual and necessary precautions.
  • I'm providing a free, simple pattern for this tutorial, but feel free to try this with any of your own projects. First, practice the "fmelting" on a small piece to test the temperature of your iron. Appliance temperatures may vary.

First, for the pattern details:




Finished size:
4 1/4" (10.8 cm) diameter


Skill Level:
Easy


Materials:
Crochet hook size G/6 - 4.25mm or size needed to obtain gauge
Plarn cut 3" (about 7.5 cm) thick - about 4 bags per coaster
Cork and/or felt stickers


Gauge:
First round measures 1 1/4" (3.2 cm) across


Directions:

Round 1:
Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 11 dc in farthest ch from hook. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (12 dc)

Round 2:
Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), turn. 1 dc in same st. 2 dc in each of next 11 sts. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (24 dc)

Round 3:
Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), turn. 1 dc in next st, ch 1. {1 dc in each of next 2 dc, ch 1} 11 times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (24 dc, 12 ch)

Round 4:
Turn. Sl st into nearest ch-1 sp, ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc in same sp, ch 1. {3 dc in next ch-1 sp, ch 1} 11 times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (36 dc, 12 ch)

  Stop! At this point, you have a perfectly good, usable, crocheted coaster. You don't have to continue if you don't want to. If so, bind off and weave in your ends now. Call it done and don't look back. But...if you want to have some fun, follow along...

Round 5:
Sl st in each st around. Bind off, weave in ends.

Because this round has no increases, your piece will begin to curl. That's okay, it will come out flat when you "fmelt" it.


Mainly to make it easier to attach the cork, I blocked the pieces overnight under a heavy jar.


Preparing the coaster for "fmelting":
If you are using cork on your coaster, cut it to the desired shape and size:


Center it on the side of the coaster you want it on. I used cork with adhesive so it would stay put while "fmelting". If you don't have adhesive cork, its okay, it will bond when the plastic melts.


If you are using felt stickers for "feet", don't put those on yet.

Directions for "fmelting plarn":

Materials:
Coaster or other object crocheted with plarn
Iron
Wax paper
Ironing board or other heatproof surface for ironing on

Preparations:
Preheat you iron on the synthetic (lowest) setting.

On your heatproof surface, sandwich your plarn object between two layers of waxed paper.

Remember: Ventilation!

Get ready to "fmelt":
Once your iron is ready, gently set it on the waxed paper. Do not push or add pressure. It is best to slowly move the iron in small circles:


I started by melting each side for 30 seconds. I want mine really melted, so this won't do. However, its looks and feels cool:


You can melt it a little, and it will still be flexible, sort of crispy, and your stitches will show. It takes about  1 1/2 - 2 minutes per side to get to this stage:


Or you can melt it a lot, and it will be solid plastic, with not much showing of the stitches. It takes almost 4 minutes per side to become this way:


This last one is one I was just practicing on. After about 5-6 minutes per side, the end result is this:


Although I didn't think about it while making these, I really recommend putting some non-skid felt stickers on the bottom, because the plastic slides easily across a tabletop. You can put a glass on the plastic side and use the cork as the bottom side, or just use felt stickers and no cork, but I worry the plastic could damage finished surfaces without something to cushion it.




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Friday, December 13, 2013

Free Pattern: Shining Stars Bookmark


  This bookmark would make a great addition to any "star" reader's collection. The pattern is a bit challenging, but finishes in no time. The design is enjoyable for all ages and can be made in the color of your choice.
  Finished size is 8" x 2" (20.5cm x 5 cm).


Skill Level:
Intermediate

Materials:
Steel crochet hook size 4
Size 10 crochet thread

Gauge:
One star = 1" (2.5 cm)


Stitches:
Slip stitch (sl st)
Chain (ch)
Single crochet (sc)
Double crochet (dc)
Triple crochet (tr)
Dc2tog and dc3tog - {Yarn over, insert hook in designated space. Yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through 2 loops} twice for dc2tog, three times for dc3tog. Yarn over, pull through all loops on hook (3 for dc2tog, 4 for dc3tog).

Directions:

Begin with a sl st.

Round 1:
*Ch 12, (dc2tog, ch 5, sl st) in 2nd ch from hook. {Ch 2, dc2 tog, ch 5, sl st} 4 times in same st.* Repeat from * to * 4 more times.  (5 stars)

Round 2:
*{Sl st into next ch 2 sp, ch 2. (Dc3tog, ch 4, sl st) in ch-5 sp, ch 1} twice. Sl st in next ch 2 sp, ch 2. Dc3tog in ch-5 sp^. {Sl st, ch 2} twice around ch-10. Sl st in same sp, ch 1.* Repeat from * to * 3 more times, repeat from * to ^ once, sl st in 4th ch from star. {Ch 2, sk 2, sl st} twice. (Ch 4, 1 tr, ch 3, 1 tr, ch 4, sl st) in same st. Working around: **{Ch-2, sl st around ch-10, under next ch-2 of previous side} twice. Ch 1, sl st in top of dc3tog, ch 3, sl st into ch-5 sp, ch 1. {Sl st into next ch-2 sp, ch 2. (Dc3tog, ch 4, sl st) in ch-5 sp, ch 1} twice^^, sl st around ch-10.** Repeat from ** to ** 3 more times, work from ** to ^^ once.

Round 3:
Turn (last ch-1 of round 2 counts as turning ch), (1 sc, ch 1, 1 dc) in same sp. Ch 7, sl st in top ch-4 st. {Ch 12, sk 1st available ch-4 st, sl st in top of next ch-4 st} 4 times. Ch 7, 3 tr in ch-4 sp, ch 3. (3 tr, ch 1, 3 tr) in ch-3 sp. Ch 3, 3 tr in ch-4 sp. Ch 7, sl st in top of dc3tog. {Ch 12,  sk first dc3tog, sl st in top of next available dc3tog}4 times. Ch7, (dc3tog, ch 1, 1 sc) in ch-4 sp. Ch 4, join with a sl st to turning ch.

Round 4:
Turn. Sl st into ch-4 sp, ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), 3 sc in same sp, ch 3. (3 sc, ch 3, 6 sc) in ch-7 sp. {Ch 2, 10 sc in ch-12 sp} 5 times. Ch 1, sk 1 st, 2 dc, ch 1. (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc in corner ch-4 sp. Ch 1, 3 sc in ch-1, ch 1. (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in ch-4 sp. Ch 1, sk 1 st, 2 dc. Ch 1, {10 sc in next ch-12 sp, ch 2} 5 times. (6 sc, ch 3, 3 sc) in ch-7 sp. Ch 3, join with a sl st to beg ch-1.

Round 5:
Turn, sl st into ch-3 sp, ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), 2 sc in same sp. Ch 3, (2 sc, ch 2, 2 sc) in corner ch-3 sp. Ch 4, {3 sc in ch-3 sp, ch 4, sk 4, sl st in each of next 2 sts, ch 4} 5 times. 3 sc in first available ch-1 sp, ch 1, 3 sc in next ch-1 sp. Ch 1, (3 sc, ch 2, 3 sc) in corner ch-3 sp. (Ch 1, 3 sc) in each of next 2 ch-1 sps. {Ch 4, sk 4, sl st in each of next 2 sts, ch 4, 3 sc in next ch-3 sp} 5 times. Ch 4, (2 sc, ch 2, 2 sc) in corner ch-3 sp. Ch 3, 3 sc in next ch-3 sp. Ch 2, join with a sl st to beg ch-1. Bind off, weave in ends. Block, starch if desired.

Note:
  The top of the pattern was designed for a tassel to be added. In the end, I chose not to add it because it will be given to a child. One who repeatedly removes tassels and fringe, so I won't waste my time, but I thought it would make a lovely addition, if you don't plan on giving it to a master of destruction.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Free Pattern: Plarn Soap Dish



  Do you have a pile of old grocery bags laying around? Turn them into a useful object like this soap dish! Combine with a few decorative soaps, towels, or similar items for a thoughtful gift with handmade flair.
  This pattern works up as slick as the soap it will hold. Made with plarn cut extra thick and a larger hook, it takes less than a day to throw one of these together. The stiffness of plarn mixed with cluster stitches makes big bobbles that keep your soap from getting soggy. The textured, yet airy design is also great for drying sponges.


Skill Level:
Easy

Materials:
Plarn - 10 bags cut into 3 inch (2.5cm) wide strips, per dish.
  *I use the spiral method. If you use the loop method, cut half as thick.
Crochet hook size J/10-6.00MM or size needed to obtain gauge
Smaller hook to weave in ends

Gauge:
First 2 rounds measure about 1 1/2" (4cm) across
Finished size: about 5" x 4" x 1" (12.5cm x 10cm x 2.5cm)
                       version 4 measures 1 1/4" (3cm) in depth

Notes:
-  If your material is not cut as straight as possible for this project, your piece may not look exactly square. Thinner spots will pull in and thicker spots will stick out on the sides. If you have some material already prepared and it isn't straight, try to use this in the beginning rounds. It will not be as noticeable on the flat bottom.
  Do not use material which varies more than 1/4" (0.6cm). If you look closely at the picture for Version 2, you can see a great example where the edge is not square. I thought I could squeeze an extra-thick joined piece in there.

-There are a few different ways to work this pattern. The variations are listed at the end of each round, if available.

Version 1: Uses the original pattern.

Version 2: Only one variation in the last round. Creates a turned-out edge.

Version 3: Begins with the first round stitches placed in one stitch for a tighter center.

Version 4: Uses one-stitch center, skips turning a round, and has an extra round for a deeper dish.

Stitches:
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Single crochet (sc)
Single crochet cluster (sc-cl) - {Insert hook into designated stitch, pull up 1 loop, yarn over, pull through 1 loop} 4 times, yarn over, pull through all loops.

Directions:
To begin, ch 4, join with a sl st to beg loop.
-Variation: Begin with ch 2 (counts as foundation loop, 1 sc), 7 sc in beg ch. (8 sc) Join with a sl st to beg ch-2. This becomes Round 1. Versions 3 and 4 were made this way.

Round 1:
Sl st into ch-4 loop. Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), 7 sc in same loop. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (8 sc)

Round 2:
Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), turn. 1 sc in same st. 2 sc in each of next 7 sts. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (16 sc)
-Variation: Work as written, do not turn. Version 4 was made this way.

Round 3:
Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), turn. 1 sc-cl in next st, 1 sc in following. *Ch 2, {1 sc in first available st, sc-cl in next st} twice. 1 sc in following st, ch 2.* 1 sc, 1 sc-cl in next st, 1 sc in following. Repeat from * to *. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1.

Round 4:
Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), turn. *(1 sc, ch 2, 1 sc) in corner ch-2 sp. 1 sc in each of next 5, (1 sc, ch 2, 1 sc) in next corner ch-2 sp. * 1 sc in each of next 3 sts. Repeat from * to *. 1 sc in each of next 2 sts, join with a sl st to beg ch-1.

Round 5:
Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), turn. {1 sc-cl in next st, 1 sc in following st} twice, (1 sc, ch 2, 1 sc) in corner ch-2 sp. {1 sc in next sp, 1 sc-cl in following} 3 times, 1 sc in next st. (1 sc, ch 2, 1 sc) in corner ch-2 sp,* 1 sc in in first st available. Repeat from * to *. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1.

Round 6:
Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), turn. 1 sc in each of next 2 sts, *2 sc in corner. 1 sc in each of next 9 sts, 2 sc in corner ch-2 sp.* 1 sc in each of next 7 sts, repeat from * to *. 1 sc in next 4 sts, join with a sl st to beg ch-1.

Round 7:
Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), turn. 1 sc in each st around. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (40 sc)

Round 8:
Turn. Skipping previous round, sl st into Round 6 sp below beg st. Ch 1, 1 sc in each st of Round 6. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (40 sc)

Round 9:
Repeat Round 7.

Round 10:
Turn. Skipping previous round, sl st into Round 8 sp below beg st. Ch 1, 1 sc in each st of Round 8. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (40 sc)

Round 11:
Repeat Round 7.

Round 12:
Turn. Skipping previous round, sl st into Round 10 sp below beg st. Ch 1, 1 sc in each st of Round 10. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (40 sc)
-Variation: Work as written, do not turn. Version 2 was made this way.
-Variation 2: Work as written, do not bind off. Repeat Round 7. Bind off, weave in ends. Version 4 was made this way.
Bind off, weave in ends.

That's forty grocery bags saved from a landfill!