The ultimate recycled blanket

Remember this guy?

Well, after a few years of constant use on our couch it was looking a little rough around the edges. The yarn had started to get fuzzy and pill. And I was just starting to wish for something new. I was all ready to find some yarn on sale and start a new blanket. But if you’ve ever made a blanket yourself (especially one of this size), you know that it always ends up costing more than what it would have if you just went out and bought one.

So I thought about if for a while and decided that I would try to make a new blanket out of the old one. I’ve always loved those colors, and they go so well with our orange couch. So I pulled the whole thing apart.

It took me the better part of a week to get the pill-y yarn wound into huge balls. But once it was done it really did feel like a fresh start. And there were only a couple parts that needed to be cut out because they were beyond repair.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on the new blanket here and there. I improvised a color block pattern as I went along. And I finally got it finished!

I love how it turned out. It’s obviously not as attractive as a brand new blanket would be. But since it will most likely be claimed by the dogs most of the time, I’m OK with that.

Reggie loves it already.

Speaking of blankets, my sister just finished this adorable love birds quilt for a friend of hers who was getting married.

I’ve never made a quilt before, but I have the ultimate respect for those who are talented at sewing.

And I hear that Megan’s cats were a big help in the process. Especially Vladmir.

Seed stitch dish cloths

I discovered a few years ago that the world’s best dish scrubbers are handmade with inexpensive cotton yarn. But I’d always thought it was the bobbled crochet stitch that made them so great. Not so! I actually think that a seed stitch works even better for creating a grime-fighting texture. And I love the way my new dish cloths look, with a neat crochet trim in a coordinating color. They’re like tiny versions of the baby blankets I used to sell.

So here’s how you make them:

Seed stitch dish cloths

approx. 8-inch squares

Materials:
Worsted weight cotton yarn in two colors
Size 7 knitting needles
Size G/6 crochet hook
Yarn needle

With the knitting needles, CO 33 stitches with the main color. Work in seed stitch pattern (K1, P1) across the first row, and all subsequent rows until piece measures as tall as it is wide (should be about 7.5 inches). Bind off in pattern.

Starting on the right side of the BO row, insert the crochet hook into the top of any stitch and pull the second color through. Begin to SC a border around the entire edge of the piece, putting 3 SC into each corner. When you reach the stitch where you started, slip stitch through it, and then snip off the yarn. Weave in ends.

You’ll definitely want to block these to make sure they come out nice and square.

Crochet color block blanket

I had a bunch of leftover yarn from a secret project (which I will tell you about later), so I got to thinking it would make an adorable blanket with blocks of bright colors.

The final version was just about big enough to cover my 4’x6′ rug.

Since I was using my leftovers, but also had to buy some new yarn, my blanket isn’t exactly perfect. But I’m pretty sure, putting this into a pattern, that you can make it with two skeins each of these:

Stitch Nation Bamboo Ewe (55 percent bamboo, 45 percent wool) – Periwinkle (A), Geranium (B), Snapdragon (C), Mermaid (D), Twilight (E), Lipstick (F), Beach Glass (G), Mercury (H)

You need a J/10 size crochet hook.

Ch 152. DC across for a total of 150 stitches.

The stripe sequence:

8 rows A
4 rows B
2 rows C
7 rows D
4 rows E
2 rows F
7 rows G
3 rows H
5 rows C
4 rows B
5 rows F
Repeat once.

(In between I added 8 rows E plus 4 rows H, but that is optional).

I love the colors and the soft, fuzzy texture of this yarn. It’s just a happy blanket.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Even though it’s kind of a gloomy day here and I couldn’t get a great picture, I wanted to show you what Mike got instead of flowers for Valentine’s Day.

It’s an orange tree!

They’re mandarin oranges, so they’ll be pretty small, and I’m not sure if we’ll get any this spring or not. But there’s tons of buds on it, and it’s a great addition to our teeny yard, which needed a little something special.

I’ll also be enjoying this gloomy day with my new tea set.

I ordered it from Delight.com when I found out they were closing shop and offering a 40 percent discount. I just can’t believe they won’t exist anymore. I loved ordering gifts (especially for myself!) from their great selection.

Speaking of good places to order things online, have you ever ordered anything from Purl? I got some new knitting needles and they were sweet enough to include some extra yarn samples.

The more I looked at them the more I saw a little cup cozy in there. So I made one.

I spilled a little coffee on the one I’ve been carrying in my purse, so this is my trusty replacement.

I’ve been knitting (and crocheting) up a storm lately, so I’ll have more projects to share soon.

Hope you are enjoying this day with the sweethearts in your life!

Recycled cotton hotpads

So while the world was enjoying two 80+ degree days in a row (in March??), I was inside feeling achy and taking my temperature. I managed to catch some kind of bug that came on really fast and made me extra whiny, given how beautiful it was outside.

Anyway, I kept my hands busy by crocheting these cute little hotpads with two colors of recycled cotton yarn I had randomly bought a while ago. I put an orange strand and a red strand together, then crocheted 25 hdc stitches into a square.

Fortunately, I had enough yarn for two, so I got a set I can use next time I have company.

The perfect fall scarf

October’s in-between-y weather calls for a scarf that’s cozy but not so stifling that you have to take it off the minute you get indoors. This lacy lightweight scarf can be made with just about any yarn you like (and it’s a great way to use up your stash), but I used super soft organic merino wool.

Here’s the pattern:

Lightweight lace scarf

Materials:
1 skein Sublime organic merino wool
Size J/10 crochet hook
Scissors
Tapestry needle

Chain 20. Single crochet into the 8th chain from the hook. Chain 5. Skip 3 stitches and single crochet into the 4th stitch over. Repeat ch 5 and SC into 4th stitch until you reach the end. Chain 5, turn.

Row 2: SC into the middle of the loop you just made. Chain 5 and SC into the next loop. Repeat until the end of the row, ch 5 and turn. Repeat the pattern across every row until piece measures 60 inches. Weave in ends.

 I’ve made this scarf with a lot of different yarns. I really liked the softness and extra bulk of Lion Brand’s organic cotton yarn

This pattern is really adaptable to whatever yarn you want to use and whatever length and width you want the scarf to be.

It’s been really fun seeing all the different versions on Ravelry. You gotta love a pattern that works up this quickly and easily!

And the big announcement is…

My knits have a new home!

I’ve thought for a while that all the items I knit or crochet don’t really fit into the “recycled and rescued” philosophy of my Etsy shop, so I decided to give them their own shop, Mary Marie Knits.

As Mike can tell you, I have a real passion for knitting, and I love experimenting with new designs that are both stylish and useful.

So please check it out when you get a chance. I have so many goodies just in time for fall and winter, and lots more to come.

Retro ripple blanket finished!

The other day as I was slogging away at the zillionth row of my ripple blanket, I realized that if I made it as big as I originally planned it was going to be absolutely gigantic. I definitely overestimated the width. And not that a huge cozy blanket isn’t a good thing, but I didn’t want to invest any more time or money into something that was big enough already. So I flip-flopped the orientation, measured it, and found that it would already fit on our queen sized bed. It is something like 63 by 87 inches.

So, I wove in the ends and called it a finished blanket.

I think it will actually live on the couch as a throw or a guest comforter because the dogs jump on our bed too much for me to be comfortable leaving it there. I can just see doggie toenails digging into all those pretty rows – yikes!

Next up, I am going to start bulking up my scarf supply for winter sales and experimenting with petite baby blankets. I will also have a big announcement soon – stay tuned! (Don’t worry, it has nothing to do with me needing baby blankets).

Ripple blanket – halfway there

I might actually be slightly less than halfway done with my big blanket, but I try not to think about that. Because if I imagine that I have more than the work I’ve already put into this left to do, I might explode. (Though it looks kind of long and skinny in this photo, measurements tell me it’s at a 2 x 1 ratio).

I think I calculated that by the time I’m finished I will have put something like 48 skeins of yarn into this.

But, it is really cool. Seeing it all laid out makes it worth the work, and I believe it’s something I’ll have for a long, long time. Or at least as long as we have an orange couch.

Ripple baby blanket

So I took a break from my retro ripple blanket to make a gift for a friend who’s expecting a baby next month. I basically used the same pattern but did four rows each of three different colors (neutral since we didn’t know the sex of the baby). The only thing I would change is that it was much too wide and I ended up with a horizontal blanket instead of a vertical one. I don’t think it matters at all, it just wasn’t how I intended it to look.

Unfortunately I was in such a rush to get out the door I didn’t remember to take a photo of it. Luckily the baby shower host snapped one. She looks happy!