Friday, February 28, 2014

Free Pattern: Lid for Coaster Basket

  When I finished designing my Plarn Coasters, I was satisfied, but the set needed more...The Plarn Coaster Basket was created as a result. I don't know if the set was still lacking something, or if I'm just fascinated with "fmelting" plarn, but I felt the need to make a lid for the basket.
  After finishing the lid, I realized that it's pretty cool just by itself. Even if you don't make the basket and coasters, this would be cute turned upside down and used as a dish for potpourri, keys, or anything else you could think of.
  Finished size is 6" x 6" x 1-1/4" (15.25 cm x 15.25 cm x 3.2 cm), including rolled edge. Interior measurement is slightly larger than 5" x 5" (12.7 cm x 12.7 cm).
See How to make Plarn

Skill level:
Easy

Materials:
Plarn, cut into 3" wide strips
Crochet hook size H/8 5.00MM or size needed to obtain gauge
Smaller hook to weave in ends

Gauge:
First round = 2" (5 cm) circumference

*Note:
Read ahead about my minor frustrations during the "fmelting" process so you have an idea about what's ahead for you. It's not complicated, I just came across some unexpected results. This caused my project to take longer than anticipated. Be prepared to make the process much easier for yourself.



Stitches:
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Single crochet (sc)
Double crochet (dc)

Directions:

Round 1:
Ch 4, 11 dc in farthest ch from hook. Join with a sl st to beg ch-4. (12 dc)

Round 2:
Turn. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in same st. 2 dc in next st. (1 dc, ch 1) in following st. *(2 dc in next st) twice. (1 dc, ch 1) in following st.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (24)

Round 3:
Turn. Sl st into ch-1 sp. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), (1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in same sp. (sk 1, 2 dc) twice. *(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in ch-1 sp. (Sk 1, 2 dc) twice.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (36)

Round 4:
Sl st into next st and following ch, turn, sl st into ch-1 sp. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), (1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in same sp. Sk 2, 2 dc in sp between posts. Sk 2, 3 dc in sp between posts, sk 2, 2 dc in sp between posts. *(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in ch-1 sp. Sk 2, 2 dc in sp between posts.  Sk 2, 3 dc in sp between posts. Sk 2, 2 dc in sp between posts.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (48)

Round 5:
Sl st in next st and following ch, turn, sl st into ch-1 sp. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), (1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in same sp. Working only into sp between posts: Sk 2, 2 dc, sk 2, 3 dc, sk 3, 3 dc, sk 2, 2 dc. *(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in ch-1 sp. Working into sp between posts: Sk 2, 2 dc, sk 2, 3 dc, sk 3, 3 dc, sk 2, 2 dc.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (60)

Round 6:
Sl st into next st and following ch, turn. Sl st into ch-1 sp, ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), (1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc) in same sp. (Sk 2, 2 sc) 6 times. *(2 sc, ch 1, 2 sc) in ch-1 sp. (Sk 2, 2 sc 6 times.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st in beg ch-1. (68)

Round 7:
Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), turn. 1 sc in each of next 67 sts.  Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (68)

Round 8:
Repeat Round 7.

Round 9:
Turn. Sl st directly below into st of Round 6. Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc). Working into sts of Round 6: 1 sc in each of next 67 sts. 

Round 10
*Sl st into back loop only of next st, ch 1.* Repeat from * to *  more times. Join with a sl st to beg sl st. Bind off, weave in ends.




To "fmelt":
  You will need an iron, wax paper, and cardboard or a similar heatproof material to make a form. This time I cheated on the first side, by only using a square of cardboard inside, then turning the iron sideways to press the sides inward. It worked, but I slipped and burned myself, so be careful if you try it. If you already have a form for making the basket, use that.
  I only took photos of the progress as I went this time. If you would like the full tutorial about "fmelting", please see the "Fmelted" Plarn Coasters pattern. For more help on making a form and working with a three dimensional project, check out the "Fmelted" Plarn Basket pattern.

  I won't lie to you; I thought this would go as easy as the basket... It didn't. Pro: The shorter sides allow you to turn it inside out. Con: The shorter sides don't hold their shape as well. You have to hold the shape for them until the piece is completely cool, or it won't be a cube, or fit the basket.
  I always come up with a better idea after I'm finished. If I had to do it again, I would try aluminum foil, probably a double or triple layer, molded around the outside. I didn't try it yet, so I can't guarantee it will work.
  Remember to cover the project with wax paper before ironing and please use caution.
  I recommend working on the sides of this piece first so the top remains pliable. Leave on the form until cool. Here is an example with the lid turned inside out, before melting the opposite side.



  Note the smooth sides. If you will be making this as a stand-alone piece, you might consider keeping it this way.



This could work on the basket, but the rolled edge makes a very tight fit. I would only suggest this for a "My gauge was off because I didn't make a swatch and now my lid is too big" moment; not that any of us ever make that mistake.



  When I made the basket, I couldn't turn it inside out after "fmelting" one side. This lid is shallow enough to invert, so both sides can be melted. I highly recommend doing so because the piece holds its shape better. However, be careful not to go too far and make the edges brittle before turning. It should look something like this:



  I found the best thing to do is only melt the entire piece about halfway, shape it some, then continue.



  Once you begin melting, the sides want to fall away from the body until it cools.  I had to go back to the drawing board. This is how it fit after the first time I thought I was finished:



  I know it isn't very clear, but I hope you can get an idea from it. You can barely see the basket because there is a gap of about an inch between the sides of the basket and the lid. Again, if you're making this as a stand-alone piece, maybe you like it that way, and gauge doesn't matter as much. But I know my gauge matches the basket; I know the lid fits. I just had to figure out a way to keep it from falling before it cooled.
  I left mine on the form, left the wax paper on it, then put a rubber band around it to hold the shape. And it finally came out square!


Friday, February 21, 2014

Free Pattern: Plarn Coaster Basket

  Have you seen my tutorial and pattern for "fmelted" plarn coasters? Did you make them? If you did, maybe you and I have the same problem. A bunch of coasters are sliding around my house when they're not being used. Every time I stack them up, they get knocked over again, so I designed a basket they can be kept in.
  Even if you didn't make a bunch of coasters like I did, this basket is still awesome, and you can make one too. It makes a great conversation piece. Many people don't know about plarn, and are very surprised when you tell them something like this is made from recycled bags. The comment I hear first is usually: "Seriously?" Followed by: "Can you make me one?"

Click here for the matching lid.

See How to make Plarn



  There are directions to alter the pattern if you don't want to "fmelt" it. Finished size is 5" x 5" x 2" (12.7 x 12.7 x 5 cm).

Skill level:
Easy

Materials:
Crochet hook size H/8 - 5.00MM
Plarn - cut into 3" wide strips, about 15 bags
Smaller hook to weave in ends

Gauge:
First round = 2" (5 cm) circumference

Notes:
  Don't let Rounds 10 and 11 confuse you if this technique is new to you. The stitches are worked over the previous rows' stitches, into the stitches of Round 8. If you've ever worked the spike stitch before, it's the same process, only you make the stitch tight around other rows instead of pulling up extra material. You want the material to roll over when you make the stitch.

  This pattern was designed for "fmelting", a process to change plarn into solid plastic. Typically, a crocheted cube will not have any decreases. To transition from working a square bottom to straight sides, the pattern will simply stop increasing. This pattern requires a decrease before working the sides, because during "fmelting", the sides and bottom border will "grow". At the end of the pattern, you can see an example of the finished basket before "fmelting". Although it's hard too see in the photo, the sides taper slightly before joining the bottom.
If you do not want to "fmelt" your basket, and you want straight sides, begin *Round 6 after beg ch-3: (1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in same sp. Replace "(1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc)" with "(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc)".

For Round 7: After ( ) 5 times, replace "Sk 1, 1 dc in ch-1. Sk 1" with "Sk 2, 2 dc in ch-1. Sk 2".

For Round 8 after beg ch-3: "1 dc in same sp, ch 1, sk 2, 2 dc". Replace "1 dc, ch 1, sk 1, 1 dc" with "2 dc, ch 1, sk 2, 2 dc".

For Rounds 9-11: Replace "51 sts" with "59 sts".

Repeat in Round 12 (29) times..

Stitches:
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Single crochet (sc)
Double crochet (dc)


Directions:
With hook size H/8-5.00MM or size needed to obtain gauge:

Round 1:
Ch 4, 11 dc in farthest ch from hook. Join with a sl st to beg ch-4. (12 dc)

Round 2:
Turn. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in same st. 2 dc in next st. (1 dc, ch 1) in following st. *(2 dc in next st) twice. (1 dc, ch 1) in following st.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (24)

Round 3:
Turn. Sl st into ch-1 sp. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), (1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in same sp. (sk 1, 2 dc) twice. *(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in ch-1 sp. (Sk 1, 2 dc) twice.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (36)

Round 4:
Sl st into next st and following ch, turn, sl st into ch-1 sp. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), (1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in same sp. Sk 2, 2 dc in sp between posts. Sk 2, 3 dc in sp between posts, sk 2, 2 dc in sp between posts. *(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in ch-1 sp. Sk 2, 2 dc in sp between posts.  Sk 2, 3 dc in sp between posts. Sk 2, 2 dc in sp between posts.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (48)

Round 5:
Sl st in next st and following ch, turn, sl st into ch-1 sp. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), (1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in same sp. Working only into sp between posts: Sk 2, 2 dc, sk 2, 3 dc, sk 3, 3 dc, sk 2, 2 dc. *(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in ch-1 sp. Working into sp between posts: Sk 2, 2 dc, sk 2, 3 dc, sk 3, 3 dc, sk 2, 2 dc.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (60)

*Round 6:
Sl st into next st and following ch, turn, sl st into ch-1 sp. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), ch 1, 1 dc in same sp. Working into sp between posts: (Sk 2, 2 dc) twice. (Sk 3, 2 dc) twice. Sk 2, 2 dc. *(1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc) in ch-1 sp. Working into sp between posts: (Sk 2, 2 dc) twice, (sk 3, 2 dc) twice. Sk 2, 2 dc.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (52)

 Round 7:
Turn, sl st into sp between posts. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in same sp. Working into sp between posts: (Sk 2, 2 dc) 5 times. Sk 1, 1 dc in ch-1. Sk 1, *(2 dc, sk 2) 5 times, 2 dc. Sk 1, 1 dc in ch-1 sp, sk 1.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (52)

Round 8:
Turn, sl st into sp between posts, Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc). Ch 1, sk 1, 1 dc. (Sk 2, 2 dc) 5 times. *(Sk 2, 1 dc, ch 1, sk 1, 1 dc. (Sk 2, 2 dc) 5 times.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (52)

Round 9:
Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), 1 sc in each of next 51 sts. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (52)

Round 10:
Sl st directly below into Round 8. Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), 1 sc in each of next 51 sts of Round 8. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (52)

Round 11:
Turn. Sl st directly below into Round 8. Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), 1 sc in each of next 51 sts of Round 8. (52)

Round 12:
*Sl st in back loop only of next st, ch 1.* Repeat from * to * 26 more times. Join with a sl st to beg sl st. Bind off, weave in ends.




Before "Fmelting" the basket:
  I've been trying to think of the easiest way to do this, and gone through a few ideas. "Fmelting" is a relatively easy process when you're working with a flat project, but how can I finish a three dimensional piece?
  I know I need to cover the surface with wax paper, so I thought I could just crumple some up and stuff the whole piece. It works, but its a big waste of wax paper.
  So I thought I could use newspaper instead, but I'm using a hot iron on it. To be honest, I was afraid I might set it on fire and didn't try it. Maybe that's something I can try (outside) another time.
  I finally settled on cardboard. It's more heat resistant than newspaper, easily covered with the wax paper, and I've always got some scraps around here somewhere. With some measuring, cutting, and staples, I made a custom-fit form for my basket.



After you make your own form, cover it with wax paper.



Place the form in the basket, making sure the piece is as even and square as possible.



Directions for "fmelting the basket:

  In case you missed the original tutorial on how to "fmelt" plarn, I'll give you the warnings again:
  • You will be using a hot iron, use the necessary precautions. 
  • You will be melting plastic. Don't inhale any fumes! Do this in a room with plenty of ventilation, or even take it outside.
  • Make a test swatch. Practice "fmelting" on this first. If you're iron temperature is set too high, you will burn right through the material.
  • Look through the wax paper to check your progress, don't get burned like I did and try to peel it off while it's hot. Also, the plastic will be stuck to the paper until it cools, and your project could be ruined.
Begin "fmelting" the bottom first. Place wax paper over the entire area to be ironed.



With the iron on the synthetic (lowest) setting, slowly and gently move the iron in small circles over the surface. Iron temperatures may vary slightly. Using mine, it took about 3 minutes per side to melt it to this stage:



Keep covered with wax paper any surface where you are applying heat. Using the same technique as with the bottom, "fmelt" each side, waiting for it to cool and harden before moving on to the next side.



I didn't melt the inside surface of my basket, but if you want to, a mini iron would be super helpful. Use it if you have one. If, like me, you don't have one, the process is a bit more complicated.

What you will have to do is follow the original directions, but don't melt the corners or bottom edges. This allows the basket to stay flexible, so you can turn it inside out. After turning, repeat the process. Good luck without that mini iron.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Free pattern: Lacy Daisy Applique

  What are butterflies attracted to? Flowers! The Cotton Candy Butterfly applique needs accessories, and it just seemed right to create some flora for the fauna. Flowers are a pretty uncomplicated thing to crochet, but what I'm looking for is something simple, yet different.

  I was determined to design the "perfect" daisy to pair with the butterfly. Making up my mind became the most difficult process. I wanted something like a traditional daisy, but with more flair; maybe even a little elegance. I also couldn't decide on a size, and then thought it would be cute to mix various sizes or layer them together. Since I couldn't chose which I prefer, I just kept making more.

  First, I'll provide a simple base pattern for an average daisy; one that's probably been used by countless crocheters around the world for an untold number of decades. It produces a compact, traditional geometric daisy. I would have used this simple pattern for the project I've been working on, but it didn't suit my taste.

  Following the basic pattern is the new and improved Lacy Daisy and its variations. You can mix and match the centers for a different look, and there is an optional border available for each version. Plus, who says you have to make white and yellow daisies? Use those scraps to make any combination of your choice.



Skill Level:
Easy - intermediate

Materials:
Steel hook size 7 US (4 UK)
Size 10 crochet thread
Needle to weave in ends

Gauge:
1 row, 2 tr = 1/4" x 1/4" (1 cm x 1 cm)

Stitches and abbreviations:
Slip stitch  (Sl st)
Chain  (ch)
          - stitch (st)
          -space (sp)
Single crochet (sc)
Double crochet (dc)
Triple crochet (tr)


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Directions for Basic Daisy:

Basic daisy worked in single crochet.
Round 1:
With color A, ch 2 (c/a 1 sc), 10 sc in farthest ch from hook. Insert hook in same st, pull up a loop. Yarn over with color B, pull through 2 remaining loops on hook. Cut color A.

Round 2:
With color B, *Sl st in next st, ch 2, 1 dc in same st.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Bind off, weave in ends.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Directions for Lacy Daisy:


*Note: If using the lacy center, be sure to use Round 2 for lacy center. All other versions will use Round 2 for other centers. For your favorite version, simply follow directions for when to continue for a border or to bind off.

Round 1 - Double crochet center:
With color A, ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 11 sc in farthest ch from hook. Insert hook into beg ch-4, pull color B through with a sl st.

Version 4 with double crochet center

Round 1 - Triple crochet center:
With color A, ch 4 (counts as 1 tr), 11 sc in farthest ch from hook. Insert hook into beg ch-4, pull color B through with a sl st.

Version 4 with triple crochet center

Round 1 - Lacy triple crochet center:
With color A, ch 4 (counts as 1 tr), ch 2, {1 tr, ch 2} 5 times in farthest ch from hook. Insert hook into beg ch-4, pull color B through with a sl st.

Version 4 with lacy triple crochet center and border
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Round 2 for Lacy triple crochet center:
With color B, *(Ch 3, 2 tr, ch 3, sl st) in same st, sl st in ch-2 sp.* Repeat from * to *  5 more times.  Continue for other versions. For version 1: Continue to border 1.1, or bind off, weave in ends.

Round 2 for other centers:
With color B, *(Ch 3, 2 tr, ch 3, sl st) in sa
me st, sl st into next st.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times.  Continue for other versions. For version 1: Continue to border 1.1, or bind off, weave in ends.

Top row, left to right: Version 1 with triple crochet center and border; version 2 with double crochet center, no border. Compare sizes with basic daisy; bottom.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Round 3:
*Ch 5, (1 tr, ch 2, 1 tr) in sp between tr posts. Ch 5, sl st in next 2 sl sts.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Continue for other versions. For version 2: Continue to border 2.1, or bind off, weave in ends.

Version 2 - Both with borders. Left: Triple crochet center. Right: Lacy triple crochet center.

Round 4:
*Ch 7, (1 tr, ch 3, 1 tr) in ch-2 sp. Ch 7, sl st in ch-5 st, sk 1 sl st, sl st in next sl st.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Continue for other versions. For version 3: Continue to border 3.1, or bind off, weave in ends.

Version 3 with border and triple crochet center.
Round 5:
*Ch 9, (1 tr, ch 4, 1 tr) in ch-3 sp. Ch 9, sl st in ch-7 st, sl st in next 2 sl sts.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Continue to border 4.1, or bind off, weave in ends.


All examples of version 4. Top left example is worked with double crochet center, no border. This will be the same size as version 3 worked with triple crochet center and border (see previous photo).
Border 1.1:
*Ch 1, 3 sc in ch-3 sp, 3 sc in sp between tr posts, 3 sc in following ch-3 sp. Ch 1, sl st in each of next 2 sl sts.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Bind off, weave in ends.

Border 2.1:
*Ch 1, 5 sc in ch-5 sp, 5 sc in ch-2 sp, 5 sc in following ch-5 sp. Ch 1, sl st in ch-5 st. Sl st in each of next 2 sl sts.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times.

Border 3.1:
*Sl st in next ch, ch 1. 6 sc in ch-7 sp, 7 sc in ch-3 sp, 6 sc in following ch-7 sp. Ch 1, sl st in each of ch-6 and ch-7 sts. Sl st in each of next 2 sl sts.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Bind off, weave in ends.

Border 4.1:
*{Sl st into ch-9 sp, ch 1} 7 times. {Sl st into ch-4 sp, ch 1} 4 times. {Sl st into ch-9 sp, ch 1} 6 times. Sl st into ch-9 sp, sl st into ch-9 st. Sl st into next 3 sl sts.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Bind off, weave in ends.

Version 4.1 combined with version 2.1, both with lacy center.

Version 4 with version 1.1
  As you can see, there are quite a few combinations to be made. Hopefully, you'll have an easier time making a decision than I did. Happy crocheting!