Monday, July 27, 2015

7 Common Crochet Mistakes

Even the most experienced of crocheters can run into problems with crochet. I've compiled a list of 7 common crochet mistakes and some advice/resources that hopefully can help you overcome them!


1. Miscounting stitches. This is a common mistake among crochet newbies and veterans! Being off one little stitch can result in a yarny catastrophe! Having the wrong amount of stitches is frustrating, so I highly recommend making a habit out of double checking counting. (And yes, I'm still working on making this a habit myself!) Stitch markers can be a big help with this!

2. Uneven, too tight or too loose tension. Again, this is a common beginner mistake. I remember when I was young and first learning to crochet this was my biggest problem! My stitching was always way too tight. Really, the only remedy for tension problems is practice, practice and more practice!

3. Using the wrong yarn. You cannot using worsted weight yarn for a pattern than calls for baby weight and expect it to come out the way the pattern says it will! Sometimes figuring out the type of yarn you need is confusing. This standard yarn weight chart is very helpful when trying to determine what kind of yarn you can use for a pattern.

4. Crocheting in the wrong loops or loop. Unless otherwise stated in the pattern, you typically insert your crochet hook into the front and back loops of each stitch. If you find yourself confused about where to insert your hook, check out this post on crocheting in front, back or both loops.

5. Not asking/looking for help. If you know someone who understands crochet better than you, ask for help! (I can't tell you how many times I begged my mom to help me with projects!) Even if you don't know somebody who crochets and can help you with a new stitch or complicated pattern, you still have resources! Google has a wealth of picture and video tutorials. Asking or looking for help can save a lot of time and frustration. 

6. Not learning to read patterns. I remember when I was first learning to crochet I was overwhelmed by the most basic of patterns. I wanted my mom to just dictate to me what to do. Sometimes she would try to help me understand the pattern, other times she left me to my own devices. It took a long time for me to feel confidant in pattern reading, but I'm glad my mom taught me! If you are new and are still confused by patterns, you can find a helpful video here: Learn to Read a Crochet Pattern

7. Giving up. Even as an experienced crocheter, I sometimes find myself in the middle of a difficult pattern and want to give up! Giving up never made anyone get better at something. It never taught anyone a new skill. As tempting as it sometimes is, don't give up! Sometimes, putting the frustrating projects away for a few days can help clear your head. Sometimes, you just have to unravel the whole thing and start over. (BLECH! I know.) Sometimes you have to swallow your pride and get help. (See #5!) But if you don't give up, you'll be rewarded with pride in your finished product! There are few things more satisfying than creating something you thought you never could.

What common crochet mistakes do you struggle with?? 

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Monday, June 15, 2015

LDS Manti Temple Free Stitchery Pattern

One of my many sisters is serving an LDS mission in Germany. I wanted to send her a package, but couldn't think of what to send her! I wanted something small enough that it would be easy for her to pack with her when she transferred, something lightweight because international shipping can get pricy and something that I knew she would love. I finally had the idea to send her a towel with an embroidered LDS Manti Temple on it! 


I first embroidered the design onto some scrap white fabric. When I was finished, I ironed it, cut off the excess fabric and sewed it onto a purple tea towel with ric rac. 

You can find the design here: LDS Manti Temple Free Stitchery Pattern

The pattern includes an inscription above the temple that says, "Holiness to the Lord." I ultimately decided to leave that off, because without the words above the temple this would have fit well in a little 5x5 frame that I was considering putting it in for my sister. However, I decided the frame was too heavy to ship so I chose the towel idea instead. But I left the words on the pattern in case anyone else would want to stitch them!

I think my sister is going to love it! 

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Infant Lacy Knit Bonnet Free Pattern

Seriously, knitting for my daughter has been so much fun! She looked so cute in this little 6 month size bonnet several months ago!



Materials:
  • Fingering weight yarn
  • Size 4 knitting needles
Notes:
  • Size 6 month
  • You are welcome to make and sell products from this pattern but please link back to this post. Please do not copy this pattern and claim it as your own. Please do not republish any of my photos as your own.
Pattern:

CO 90
Row 1: *Sl1, k2, psso, k3* repeat from * to * around
Row 2: *P4, yo, p1* repeat from * to * around
Row 3: *K3, sl1, k2, psso* repeat from * to * around
Row 4: *P1, yo, p4* repeat from * to * around
Repeat rows 1-4 until peice measures 5 ish inches from beginning, being sure to end on row 4. 
Crown shaping:
Row 1: K2tog twice, k3, *Sl1, k2, psso, k3* repeat from * to * until 4 remaining, k2tog twice
Row 2: P2tog, p1, yo, *P4, yo, p1* repeat from * to * until 2 remaining, P2tog
Rows 3-4: Repeat rows 1-2
Row 5: *K2, k2tog* repeat from * to * 4 more times, K40, *k2tog, k2* repeat from * to * 4 more times. 
Row 6: P across
Row 7: K4, *k2tog, K4*  repeat from * to * across
Row 8: P across
Row 9: K3tog, *K5, k2tog* repeat  from * to * across
Row 10: P across
Row 11: K4, *k2tog, k3* repeat  from * to * across
Row 12: P across
Row 13: K1, *k2tog, k1* repeat  from * to * across
Row 14: P across 
Row 15: K2tog across until 1 remaining, K1


Finishing:
Break off yarn, sew through remaining stitches, pull tight. Make and attach braids for ties! Block lightly if desired.


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Monday, June 1, 2015

Responses For When Someone Asks You to Knit/Crochet for Them

Do you avoid telling people you knit or crochet because you fear an endless stream of people asking you to make things for them? Inevitably, when people begin discovering that you're the least bit crafty, they will ask you to create something for them. 

Sometimes when they ask, they are perfectly reasonable. They understand that knitting or crocheting their requested item takes a great deal of time and they even sweeten the request by offering to compensate your time and supplies. Others will be demanding, unreasonable or even rude and ask for the impossible. ("I need a high quality cabled and lace toddler sweater that looks like the one depicted in this Pinterest photo but made with cheap, scratchy Red Heart yarn so I can pay you $7 for it. Oh, and can I get it by next Saturday?") It's helpful to be prepared for all sorts of knit/crochet requests so that you don't find yourself resentfully crocheting for someone or attempting to knit that impossible request! 

Well, I've come up with a list of 9 responses for when someone asks you to knit or crochet for them!


1. Yes!!

If it is something that you would love to make for someone that you would love to make it for and you can find time for it, then absolutely say yes! And it nevers hurts to donate to charity events if you are asked and have the time! There have been plenty of times I've said yes to a request and truly enjoyed following through.

2. I'd love to work out a trade! Would you be willing to BLANK in exchange for that crocheted/knitted item?

You can fill in the blank with all sorts of things. For example, is the person requesting a hair stylist? Trade haircuts for crocheting! I've traded knitted photography props with the photographer at Bitty Bokeh in exchange for the most breath taking photos of my children. Other trade ideas include babysitting, meals, teaching you a new skill, etc. There are so many talented people out there who would probably love the idea of a trade.

WARNING: Don't say this unless you really want to follow through with it if they accept. And do your best to make sure the trade is fair so nobody feels like they are being taken advantage of!

3. No.

Plain and simple "no" works. It's definitely blunt, but don't feel like you have to offer an explantation if  you don't want to. Not everybody has to like you. Not everyone is deserving of the hard work and time you would put into a homemade item. Don't be afraid to just say "no" if making something will cause you misery!

4. I don't usually create items to order, but I know somebody who does!

If you know somebody who owns an Etsy shop or otherwise sells the handmade items you've been asked to make, I'm sure they'd appreciate any referrals! This is a great response to deflect unwanted requests while still pointing the person in a direction where they can get the homemade item they are asking for.


5. How about I teach you how to knit/crochet instead?

If she/he says yes, then you can spread the yarn crafting love and guarentee that person won't be asking you to make things for them again! Plus you'll make a new crocheting/knitting friend. Yay! But if you know for a fact the person won't take you up on the offer, it's a great way to get out of making something you don't have the time or wish to create. 

WARNING: Don't say this unless you really want to follow through with it if they accept. If you don't have the time or desire or patience to be teaching someone to crochet or knit, then this isn't the response for you!

6. Have you met my kids? 

This is my go-to response. I usually follow that statement with something like, "They won't even nap at the same time for me anymore!" and I make sure to say it with a tired expression on my face to remind them that my kids keep me pretty busy and what free time I do have is extremely precious.

7. I only make homemade items as gifts, and even then people are lucky if I get their knit gift done in time for Christmas!

This is a great response for an acquaintance or friend of a friend who asks you to make them something. It gently points out that it takes a lot of time to finish projects and most people aren't going to start demanding for a Christmas gift. 

8. I'm so glad you like my work, but I'm afraid I have a very long want-to-make list and wouldn't be able to make that for you for another decade or so.

Their enthusium will wane when they realize they won't get the item they are asking for until years have passed. 
And this is the polite way to say, "That sounds like a time consuming hassle. I'd rather spend my limited down time making things I want to make!"

9. Start laughing.

Ok, so this probably is not the best response. But sometimes it just slips out, especially if the request is particularly ridiculous. Usually this will demostrate that what they are asking for isn't realistic for you to make! Once you are able to stop laughing, you can either explain why their request made you laugh, or use one of the responses I've listed above.

Have people ever asked you to knit or crochet for them? What did you say?


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Monday, May 18, 2015

Free Crochet Gift Label

Sometimes I just want a simple but sweet way to dress up my homemade gifts, which is why I created these crochet gift labels! I made 2 different but coordinating styles to wrap up a few of the Chrysanthemum dishcloths I showed you in my 5 Free Crochet Dishcloth Patterns round up. 



You can download these Free Crochet Gift Labels here and share the homemade love! All you have to do is print it out on cardstock, cut a few straight lines, wrap the gift and secure the label. I'm lame and used regular clear tape to secure it, but I'm thinking that washi tape that coordinated with your gift would be adorable!


These labels would be cute to wrap up hats, hotpads, boot cuffs, washcloths, infinitity scarves or any kind of small crochet gift! I know I'll be using them for a lot of my gift giving in the future! 


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Monday, May 11, 2015

5 Free Crochet Dishcloth Patterns

About 2 months ago, I share 5 Free Knit Dishcloth Patterns. Today, I have 5 free crochet dishcloth patterns for all my crocheting friends! These are all patterns that I have made myself and enjoy making:)




I love how Kara from Petals to Picots uses two basic crochet stitches to create this beautifully textured dishcloth! Her pattern is so incredibly simple that I could probably make another one from memory although it's been a few weeks since I made this sweet yellow one!




As a general rule, I don't like dishcloths with any amount of openwork. I like the stitches to be nice and tight so they are effective when in use. However, I just love this pattern created by Erica from 5 Little Monsters! It's got a bumpy texture to it, so depsite the small amount of openwork, I feel like it's still effective! And pretty!



This is one of my own patterns, and I still just love the edging around it! 


Chrysanthemum Dishcloth


This is definitely my favorite washcloth of all time. Really, I adore it so much. Who isn't made happy by spring flowers?! In the photo below, I used Mary Maxim Scrub It yarn. I wasn't sure if I'd like it for this pattern, but I love!


Textured Stripes Dishcloth

When I first saw the stripes on this dishcloth over on the Lemon Lane Blog, I knew I loved the design! As I started to crochet it, however, I decided it was a little bit big for my taste. I have small hands and I think that is why I tend to prefer smaller washcloths. So I modified the pattern a bit by taking off a few chains and rows to make it a little smaller. I'm in love with the end result!


There is something so theraputic about crocheting dishcloths, don't you think??

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Monday, May 4, 2015

The BEST Crocheted Hotpad You'll Ever Make

When I got married about four and a half years ago, we were gifted a homemade set of crocheted hotpads. I loved them very much, and spent a ridiculous amount of time examining them in an attempt to figure out how to replicate the double thick technique used. I never did figure it out on my own. But one day, after I had long since given up on replicating those hotpads, I accidently stumbled across a tutorial to make them!!  I was thrilled, to say the least. I pinned it to my own crochet board, and later hacked onto my mom's Pinterest account and pinned it to hers as any good daughter would. And then I hacked my sister's Pinterest and pinned it to her crochet board as well. (My sister has since changed her password...but I know she deeply appreciates having this tutorial saved!)


Anyway, you can find the pattern for these lovely little hotpads over at Miss Abigail's Hope Chest. There are so many helpful photos and the tutorial is well put together. Seriously, go look. You'll thank me.

These are so unbelievably simple to make and work up quickly. I use Lily Sugar n' Cream typically, but any kind of worsted weight cotton will work! 


I love how thick and durable they are, unlike so many other flimsy ones I've used! Out of all the hotpads I've ever owned, these kind seem to hold up the best. Until you drop one onto a hot stove burner and don't notice until you smell burning yarn. Then they aren't so effective anymore. Ahem...not that I would know anything about that of course;)

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Sunbonnet Girl with Chickens Free Stitchery Pattern

I am obsessed with vintage embroidery lately!! And I had a vision of a pattern for a floursack towel of a sunbonnet girl feeding her chickens. I searched high and low for pattern that matched this vision but had no success. So I was forced to create my own. It took me forever to do so, but I'm very pleased with it!!




Materials:
Color Guide:
  • Bonnet and apron outline: 350
  • Dress outline: 3733
  • Flower, shoes, sleeve cuffs to dress: 3832
  • Flower center, grass: 368
  • Arms and legs: 3864
  • Basket: 834
  • Chicken wattle and comb: 3831
  • Chicken outline: 3863
  • Chicken beaks and food: 728
Stitch Guide:
  • I used the lazy daisy stitch for the flower center and chicken feed. The flower petals were made with lazy daisy stitches. I used a classic backstitch for everything else.

I've mentioned before that I would LOVE to own backyard chickens, so this little floursack towel really makes me happy. It looks so happy hanging on my oven handle:) But it isn't very practical right now, since I've announced to everyone that this towel is only to look it. I'm not quite ready for all that hard work to be stained with spilled jam and dirty hands! However, I know my toddler well enough to know that he will clean up something gross with it while my back is turned and I'll have to start actualy using this towel before I know it. That's ok though, because at least it can hang in my kitchen looking pretty for the time being!  

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Crochet Toddler Basic Bear Hat

The other night, I was projectless. Okay, so that isn't entirely true. I always have plenty of projects...but on this particular night I didn't have any crochet projects to work on. And I really just wanted to crochet. I knew that sitting in my overflowing leftover yarn bucket I had a partially used skein of yarn (Vanna's Choice in oatmeal) that I had always thought would be cute for a little boy's bear hat...


Materials:
  • Size H crochet hook
  • 1 skein Vanna's Choice yarn (I used oatmeal)
  • Tapestry needles

Notes:
  • Don't crochet? I have a free pattern for a toddler knit bear hat here
  • Ch 2 does NOT count as a stitch.
  • Don't join rounds to top of ch 2. Instead, join the rounds to the 1st DC. 
  • You are welcome to make and sell products from this pattern but please link back to this post. Please do not copy this pattern and claim it as your own. Please do not republish any of my photos as your own.
Hat:

Round 1: Magic Ring, ch 2, DC 10, pull ring nice and tight, join to first DC, ch 2
Round 2: 2 DC in each DC around, join, ch 2. (20 DC)
Round 3: 
DC in first, DC in next dc, repeat  around, ch 2. (30 DC)
Round 4: 
DC in first, DC in next 2 DC, repeat around, join, ch 2.  (40 DC) 
Round 5: 2 DC
 in first, DC in next 3 DC, repeat around, join, ch 2. (50 DC)
Round 6: 2 DC in first, DC in next 9 DC, repeat around, join, ch 2. (55 DC)
Round 7: 2 DC in first, DC in next 10 DC, repeat around, join, ch 2. (60 DC)
Round 8-14: DC in each around, join, ch1. 
Round 15: Turn, crab stitch around, join, finish off.

Ears: (make 2)

Row 1: Magic Ring, ch 2, HDC 7, ch 2, turn work.
Row 2: 2 HDC in each stitch across, ch 1, turn work. (14 stitches)
Row 3: SC in each stitch across, ch 1, turn work.
Row 4: SC in each stitch aross, ch 1, do not turn work.
Row 5: Crab stitch, join, finish off, leaving a long tail. 

Finishing:

Attatch ears using a tapestry needle and the long tail from each ear. Sew in all loose ends. 


It always makes me happy when I make a project from the yarn in my yarn stash. Because then I can continue to justify never parting with any scrap yarn ever;) (Please tell me I'm not the only one who hoards yarn!!) But really, you never know when you'll need that one skein leftover from that one thing you once made years ago! 

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Monday, April 6, 2015

DIY Title of Liberty for FHE

Some of the things my mom came up with to drag family night out as long as possible really drove me crazy!! (Remind me to tell you all about the "compliment time" she made us do before each lesson. UGH!) I always accused of her staying up all night conniving activities, lesson plans, lesson supplements, etc for the sole purpose of making family home evening take up as much time as possible. 

I have become my mother.

My little boy LOVES family night, but he has a longer attention span for the lesson if I'm prepared with visual aides. So, sometimes I stay up way past my bedtime conniving ideas for props for an FHE lesson. And this DIY Title of libery is my latest creation!

(Not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? You can read a brief description of what the Title of Liberty is here. And you can learn more about our faith here!)




Materials:
  • 2 peices of muslin
  • 1 peice of medium weight interfacing
  • 1" wide wooden dowel 
  • Fabric marker
  • Hot glue gun
Tutorial:

First, write the scripture Alma 46:12 on one of your muslin rectangles. I wish I had practiced writing with my fabric marker on some scrap fabric before I did it on my project because I felt really clumsy with it! But my little boy doesn't notice my skiwampus handwriting ;)


Then I sandwiched my interfacing between the two muslin rectangles, making sure my writing was facing the outside. I pinned the peices together on 3 sides, leaving the side on the left of my writing unpinned. 

I made 2 marks about 1" away from the unpinned edge on the top and bottom. Beginning at the mark on the top, I sewed around the three sides. I chose to just do a top stitch because I want the edges to eventually fray. You know, because the real Title of Liberty was made from ripped coat which probably frayed too ;)


I wrapped the edge that was not sewn down around the top of my dowel. Then I hot glued the fabric down.


And because I was so excited I couldn't wait until the next FHE to show my Title of Libery to my son. 

He thought it was pretty sweet!

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Infant Knit Bunny Hat Free Pattern

Waaay back in October I shared with you my Bear Cub knit hat. I had made it for my little boy for Halloween. October was a pretty hectic month due to some family circumstances, and I never got around to sharing this sweet little bunny hat I knitted for my daughter's costume!




Materials:
  • Bulky weight yarn
  • Size 9 knitting needles
  • Tapestry needle for attaching ears
Notes:
  • You are welcome to make and sell products from this pattern but please link back to this post. Please do not copy this pattern and claim it as your own. Please do not republish any of my photos as your own.
  • Size 3-6 months
  • Don't knit? You can find a crochet bunny baby hat here

Pattern Instructions:

Hat:

CO 56
Round 1: P around
Round 2: K around
Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until work measure 1.5 inches.
Continue in stockinette stitch until work measures 4.25 inches from the cast on edge. 
Crown Shaping:
Round 1: *K5, K2tog* repeat around
Round 2: *K4, K2tog* repeat around
Round 3: *K3, K2tog* repeat around
Round 4: *K2, K2tog* repeat around
Round 5: *K1, K2tog* repeat around
Round 6: *K2tog* repeat around

Cut tail and sew through remaining stitches. Weave in all loose ends.

Ears: (Make 2)

CO 9
Rows 1-11: Stockinette stitch, beginning with a K row
Row 12: P2tog, P5, P2tog
Row 13: K across
Row 14: P2tog, P3, P2tog
Row 15: K across
Row 16: P2tog, P1, P2tog

Bind Off, attach to hat, sew in loose ends. Block lightly if desired.

My little miss was the cutest bunny last Halloween!


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Monday, March 23, 2015

Textured Knit Toddler Hat Free Pattern

Today I have the cutest free toddler hat pattern for you! I made this hat for a very special little girl who I hope loves it. And minus the flower, it would be really cute for a little boy as well.



Materials:
Notes:
  • You are welcome to make and sell products from this pattern but please link back to this post. Please do not copy this pattern and claim it as your own. Please do not republish any of my photos as your own.
Pattern Instructions:

Hat:

CO 72
Ribbed band: Work in the round in double rib (k2, p2) for 1 inch.
Crown: Seed stitch until piece measure approximately 5.25inches from the bottom.
Crown Shaping:
Round 1: *K2tog, (p1, k1)x2, p2tog* repeat around.
Round 2: *P1, K1* repeat around
Round 3: *P2tog, k1, p1, K2tog* repeat around
Round 4: *K1, P1* repeat around
Round 5: *K2tog, p2tog* repeat around
Round 6: *P1, K1* repeat around
Round 7: *P2tog, K2tog* repeat around

Cut tail and sew through remaining stitches. Attach flower, weave in all loose ends and block lightly if desired.



As I have mentioned before, I have a little sister who died of leukemia a few months ago at age 3 and it got me thinking that this little hat would make a wonderful "chemo cap" for young toddlers with cancer. I know I'll be making a  few for that purpose in memory of my sweet angel sister! If you are interested if donating hats for cancer patients, you can do so at Knots of Love, Halos of Hope, or other similar foundations. And there is always the option of finding a local hospital to donate to as well! I know my little sister loved new hats, so I promise your efforts would not go unappreciated!

And be sure to check out my new Facebook page!


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Monday, March 16, 2015

6 Petal Knit Flower Free Pattern

Not too long ago, I shared my crochet flower patterns. Now, for all you knitters, I have a sweet little 6 petal flower pattern! 


Materials:
  • Sport weight yarn
  • Size 5 knitting needles 
  • Tapestry needle
  • Coordinating thread
  • Bead or button for flower center
Notes:
  • You are welcome to make and sell products from this pattern but please link back to this post. Please do not copy this pattern and claim it as your own. Please do not republish any of my photos as your own.
  • This flower is about 4 inches across
Pattern for Petals: (Make 6)

CO 5
Row 1: P across
Row 2: K1, *m1, k1* repeat from * to * across
Rows 3-11: Stockinette
Row 12: K2, ssk, k1, k2tog, k2
Row 13: P across
Row 14: K2, ssk, k1, k2tog, k1
Row 15: P
Row 16: K1, k3tog, k1
Bind off

To finish, sew in all loose ends. Hold all six petals together by pinching the centers in one hand. Using a strand of coordinating thread, sew the petals together and attach button. I recommend blocking lightly because the edges of the petals tend to curl. 



Next week I'll share the project I embellished with this flower!
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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

5 Free Knit Dishcloth Patterns

Have you noticed how much I love to create things for the kitchen?? No? Well, I do! There's something so satisfying about creating something functional AND cute. So today, I've rounded up 5 of my most favorite washcloth patterns. These patterns are ones that I have tried and sincerely enjoyed making!



Do you like easy but pretty patterns? I know I do! I adore this pattern because I was able to quickly memorize it and can whip one of these pretty dishcloths up without really thinking about it!



Looking for something that will really help scrub those dishes clean? Yes? Well, this is just the pattern for you! 



This is another easy knit washcloth. I just love the texture it produces! 





In my opinion, this one takes a little bit more brainpower! But it's a fun, kind of different look and I enjoyed making it :)



Aunt May Dishcloth

I had this one pinned this one to my Knitting Pinterest Board for ages before I made it! For some reason, this pattern really intimidated me. But once I started, I was surprised to realize that it isn't as complex as it looks! 


Not only does having cute towels and things in the kitchen make cleaning more enjoyable, they make such easy, practical and cute gifts! And if you're new to knitting, washcloths make wonderful first projects:)

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