Basic Crochet Ruffle Border

This is a very basic double crochet ruffle border. If you have mastered the double crochet lesson, this will work up fast.

You're going to need 2-3 skeins of contrasting colored yarn.

Start by putting your hook through the corner hole where you initially started or ended the blanket. You should have a 3" or 4" tail from starting the blanket. Just lay the tail to the side, we're going to stitch over the top of it and it will lay inside the border.

Then, start a slip knot loop with your border color and put it on your hook.

Pull (or slip stitch) the knot inside the hole...

And now you're ready to double crochet.

Try to keep the "tail" of the blanket down over the top of the chain and just stitch through the chain like you normally would. This incorporates the tail without having to get a needle.

(dc) approximately 12 times in that same corner hole.

The way you make the stitching ruffle is by putting a bunch of stitches in the same opening, making a natural ruffle.

Now you're going to dc in the holes which are actually the ends of the rows in the blanket. You're going to stitch about 6 dc's in every row of your blanket. You can see in the picture here that I'm stitching inside the edges of where my blanket rows began.

You can increase or decrease the amount of ruffle by increasing or decreasing your stitches. Just remember to put double the stitches in the corner pockets. If you're doing six stitches in every spot, then do 12 stitches in the corners.

I've seen some little boy blankets done this way with no ruffle at all - just don't put very many stitches into one spot.

Go all the way around the blanket just like this.

Finishing off and hiding threads coming soon...


Double Crochet Baby Blanket

Although there are dozens of beautiful, intricate baby blankets out there, I prefer the easy approach. I like clean lines, repetition, and I don't want to think or count! We're going simple, baby! This is my favorite way to do a blanket because it works up fast and it's totally brainless. (kind of like me...no, just kidding!)

Let's get started then!

Materials Needed: 3-4 skeins yarn that's easy to handle, (a good starter yarn will be Bernat Cotton Tots or Bernat Baby yarn) and a hook size I or J

Assuming you've already mastered the chain lesson I posted earlier, we're going to move on to another step - the Double Crochet or (dc). If you haven't mastered the chain and it's still difficult to do it quickly, keep working at it before you tackle this.

Before you begin a big 'ol blanket, we're just going to stitch a few rows on a small scale so you can see and feel what you're doing without the huge commitment!

FIRST OF ALL: I deeply apologize for the blurry pictures. My lighting was bad on and off today because it's been rainy and dark! And it's hard to re-focus again and again. So sorry if you're feeling queasy looking at any photos!

Take your chain and with your hook under the yarn (or yarn over), wrap the yarn around the neck of the hook, put hook through the 3rd chain from the hook (counts as a dc) - and you'll have 3 loops of yarn on your hook.

We now have three loops on the hook. With yarn over like we've been learning, grab the yarn and pull it through the first loop. (you'll still have 3 loops because of this)

Then bring your hook back up, grab some more yarn, and pull it through the next 2 loops.

You should have 2 loops left - repeat - bring your hook back up and grab some yarn and pull it through the remaining 2 loops. That's a "double" crochet.

So from the beginning, with needle up, you wrap yarn around the hook once, go down into the chain, come up, grab yarn, pull through one loop, go back up, grab yarn, pull through two loops, go back up, grab yarn, pull through last two loops.

Do this a few times to really get the feel of it.

Come down into the last chain in that row, right up against the knot and dc there to finish the row.

This is what the a first row finished should look like at the end.

Then you'll need to chain twice - because the height of our stitches is a DOUBLE crochet.

(If you were doing a single crochet blanket, you'd chain once at the end of every row. If you were doing a triple crochet blanket, you'd chain three times - got it?!)

Flip your row around and you're ready for row #2.

(You're doing GREAT, by the way!!!)

So again, grab some yarn, wrap it around once, go down into that 2nd chain from the end of the row. My thumb here is directly under the hole I'm going to stitch in.

Now you know the rest - go ahead and finish out the row.
When you get to the end of the 2nd row, it might seem like you're done but there's that one last chain you need to get underneath. Can you see the chain where it's starting to curve? That will be the one you want to stitch in. It is the last stitch in the previous row and you have to get that one or your rows will be thrown off.

This is what your finished 2nd row should look like. The bottom corner should be somewhat squared.

Then, like we learned before, chain twice, flip 'er around and you're ready to start row 3! Go ahead and dc all the way down to the end.

(See?! You can do THIS! It's not hard!)

Again, at the end of the row, make sure you pick up that last chain from the previous row.

Now we're going to finish off our sample because you're ready to move on to bigger and better things.

So clip your yarn, giving yourself about 4-5 inches extra.

Tie a knot to secure your yarn. Make sure you get the knot all the way down to the bottom of your piece.

And now you're ready to put a border on. That extra yarn can either be stitched into the piece with a needle, (I'll have pictures & a post on that later) or it can lay there on the edge and you'll stitch over the top of it with your border.

Now that you have the process figured out, you're ready for large scale!

To begin, make a chain approximately 32 inches long. Then stitch your heart out until it's about 36 inches tall.

Tie it off and we're ready for a border. Here's the link to my basic ruffle border.
Some things to remember:

The blanket will stretch the longer it gets.
Keep plenty of yarn unrolled so you've always got slack. It's hard to stitch along without the right tension.

Try not to make your stitches too tight. You should be able to move your hook freely without snagging.

If you're feeling like your stitches are too small, maybe your hook is too small. Go one hook size up and see if that helps. Vice Versa - if your stitches seem too big and loopy, try going down a hook size.

If worse comes to worse, email me your phone number and I can walk you through this!


It's a Chick Thing - Idea Venture Challenge

I love a good challenge!

Well, in my opinion, my version does not look as nice as the boutique version - but I guess that's why I don't own my own boutique, right?! Anyway, here's my take on the design:

I cut out my pieces. I made sure the beak was a little larger than it needed to be because I wanted to make sure it got all the way stitched underneath.

Then I ironed the pieces into place with some fusible webbing or iron-on adhesive. This held everything in place very nicely.

Then I satin stitched around the entire shape. Because of the curves, the stitching got a little tricky.

Finally, I put some fray liquid on the edges of the beak and feet to prevent any fraying. I stitched the beak down (I love how it turned out) and stitched the eye in place. Now I've got a chick shirt.

While I was at it, I stitched up a couple of baby onesies. Now what baby girl wouldn't look adorable with one of these?! With a cute pair of pants or a skirt, that baby will turn every head. (well, yours at least)

If I had more time and no children, I would have probably created some type of embellished pants to go with these shirts, but alas, that will have to wait.

Fun For Little Girls of All Ages

Here are two FUN and very adorable websites for little girls called Dress-Up Bunnyfur , and Softie Doll Dress-Up by Jennie B. Harris, who is also the author of one of my favorite Blogs, All Sorts. The idea is so simple but the graphics are so cute. My little girl is going to go nuts-o over this when she wakes up!


Boutique Treasure

Okay this is where I find a really cool idea and figure out how they did it. This is not one of my projects, I found it on Blossom Street, and I think it's such a great, simple idea. If your little girl's pants are getting a little high-watered, then roll them up and stitch on some cute ribbon and trim!

And that little chick shirt couldn't be cuter. Here is how I will tackle this project:

1. cut out a chick shape, cut 2 legs out of ric rac & cut out a small beak

2. put some iron-on adhesive on the chick

3. place the legs & beak just under the chick's body, iron and secure them into place, satin stitch around the whole chick. Secure the beak and the legs halfway down with a hand stitch or washable fabric glue.

4. For the eye, I would stitch on a little red button or maybe use a little snap (before ironing the adhesive in place, of course).

Okay, well I'm definitely going to come up with my own version of this adorable idea. I want to know if any of you come up with your own version! (Maybe change the shape up a little or use a different animal and trim.)

Cooking 101 - Campfire Vittles

We're getting ready to go camping and I'm a simple kind of girl. I don't mind the whole camping thing, but if I can create food shortcuts, I do. So here's an awesome dinner recipe that I'm going to prepare before we leave tonight - and since I already have leftover grilled chicken in the fridge, this will come together in a snap.

(You could also do this at home with the kids and put the foil packets in the oven and they'll love it!)


· 1 pound(s) chicken breast, cooked and cut into cubes
· 2 c rice (dry), and then cook - we prefer brown rice
· 1/2 pound frozen peas or mixed veggies
· 1/2 pound shredded cheddar cheese
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder

You will need one small roll of aluminum foil (heavy gauge is better)

In a large container, combine chicken, rice, frozen veggies, shredded cheddar cheese, and seasonings. Cover and refrigerate. At dinner time, scoop each serving onto the middle of a 2 ft. long piece of aluminum foil. (four servings = four pieces of aluminum foil). Wrap the mixture into the foil by folding the foil longwise (so that it stays about 2 ft. long). Wrap the tail ends of the aluminum around a heavy stick and warm each wrapped mixture over a campfire until the cheese melts - or stick them on top of a cooking griddle and rotate. The foil cools rapidly and can be unwrapped easily from around the sticks and from around the mixture. You could also add cashews, canned mushrooms, and/or soy sauce depending on the tastes of the group.

It All Stems from Somewhere

I found these beautiful blooms from the Pottery Barn Outlet and I cannot take credit for this great idea - but I noticed that on their display at the store, they had similar blooms with long stems all curled up at the bottom. I loved the idea of not covering or hiding the stems - but making them a part of the piece.
So with much toil and struggle to bend these very sturdy stems, here is my version.

(flowers at the outlet $.50 each, vase, $5.00 at a nearby store. Total cost: $11.00)

Picture This

My daughter REALLY loves horses. As a special treat for her, I found some free photos on the Microsoft Clipart site, downloaded them, printed them out, and put them in a matching frame for her room. She loves the pictures and I love that it didn't cost hardly anything.


Cooking 101 - Basic Seasoning

Here's a basic dry seasoning recipe I got from my girl, Paula Deen.

1 c. salt
1/4 c. garlic powder
1/4 c. ground pepper

Mix well together, store in an airtight container.

We use this seasoning on our grilled chicken and it's a hit every time! If you go to Paula's website on the Food Network, she uses this seasoning in many of her dishes.

Cooking 101 - Pancakes

Here's the most delicious, basic pancake recipe:

1 c. unbleached flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
3 T. sugar
1 c. quick oats (or less)
1/2 c. wheat germ

whisk to combine

Separately, mix together:
3 1/2 c. milk
1 c. sour cream
4 t. melted butter
2 large eggs, beaten

Combine all ingredients together, without overmixing.

Note: I have a wonderful cast-iron griddle that I have been using for a couple of years, so it's well seasoned and gives my pancakes such great flavor. I highly recommend getting one of these griddles for your home.

EXCELLENT Pancake Toppings:
Strawberries blended with a touch of lemon and sugar
Roasted, chopped pecans
Blueberry or apple pie filling

...or just plain old butter and maple syrup!

Beginning Crochet

Do you want to learn crochet?! I'm definitely not an expert, but I can get you started.

Here is a link to the basic stitching abbreviations.

Since you are probably just beginning, dont' go out and get the soft, fuzzy, fancy yarn you'd like to stitch a blanket with. Get a cheap, basic yarn with no frills, preferrably a small skein or ball of yarn because this is your "learner" yarn. The kind I used in my samples is Bernat Cotton Tots, 4 oz., worsted. Here is a yarn weight link in case you're interested.

A good starter hook size to learn with is size "I" or "J". Your yarn should be compatible with your hook so you're not struggling with uneven stitches.

Start with making a slip-knot with your yarn like this.

Now put your hook in the slip knot...

and tighten the knot just a little around your hook.

Many people wrap their thread around their fingers differently, but this is how I do it. You need to wrap the yarn correctly so you have good tension. If you don't have good tension, your stitches will be uneven and sloppy - kind of like a sewing machine!
So here we go: Palm up, put yarn between pinky and ring finger, wrap around & behind pinky, over the top of your back fingers, and with pointer finger extended, hold the slip knot area with thumb and middle finger. This will help you have the right tension when you stitch.

Now you're ready to chain. Put your needle underneath your yarn, or (yo = yarn over), grab a hold of your yarn with the hook, and pull it through the loop.

Now, you're a smart cookie, so keep practicing until you've got this down pretty quick - from startup, wrapping your yarn, and stitching a lengthy chain that looks tight (not too tight) and even. It should look like a nice braid on the front side.
Note: If your yarn is too loopy or loose, you need more tension with your fingers holding the yarn. Practice your basic chain and play with the tension in your fingers until you get the desired result.

Fairy Skirts

Start with a rectangular piece of fabric wide enough to go around a little girl (about 24 inches) with a 1" seam allowance.

With right sides together, sew the ends of the rectangle together and press open.

Press down a 1" waistband all the way around the top of the skirt. Don't worry about folding it under twice - these little girls won't care if it's professional looking!

To sew the waistband down, start on the right side of where the seams meet up, securing the stiches by backstitching a few times there. Stitch all the way around until you come to within 1 1/2 or 2 inches from where you started. Backstitch and make your ending secure. Now you have an opening wide enough for your elastic to go through and you'll stitch the hole together later.

To get your triangle cuts to be uniform, cut a piece of paper and draw your angles with a pencil. Make sure to cut off the pencil markings.

Add your elastic to the waistband, stitch the opening closed, and you're done!

(I'll post instructions on basic elastic waistbands soon...)