Monday, June 27, 2011

Crochet Apple Cozy

You knew this was in my future. Couldn't wait to use some of my cotton bits and bobs to make an apple cozy. Who doesn't throw an apple in their bags and take it out for lunch only to find nicks from keys and crochet hooks?

I used #4 weight yarn instead of DK as the pattern called for and a "G" hook. So I didn't need as many rows and kept an apple handy to judge my progress. This worked up so quickly! One thing I changed was instead of skipping a stitch to do the decreases, I crocheted two stitched together. The skipped stitches were too obvious with the larger gauge.

Funny how the simplest, quickest projects can make me so happy! What projects have you made lately that make you happy?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Crochet Finds Roundup

The house is quiet so it's time for a bit of blog hopping. It's so fun when I blog I read leads me to another and another and so on and so on. Here's where my hopping led me today:

Image courtesy of The Coral Reef Project.

Yarn Over Pull Through - video tutorial on invisible join using double crochet. This post was from 2008 so I clicked on the home page and wow! A hyperbolic crochet exhibit in Hawaii and one of Hypercycloid's crochet transverse coral pieces was included! I have admired hyperbolic crochet for a long time and demonstrating physics and crochet at the same time would be nirvana! It's definitely on my bucket list!

Image courtesy of Mollie Makes.

Molly Makes - This site is home of a UK publication of the same name. They just made a video to promote their latest issue and it was filmed at The Makery in Bath, UK. This shop is a dream! To have a place you can just drop in and work on your project with other crafty types, say during your lunch hour. Those crochet apple cozies are the bomb! So, I have a lot of catching up to do reading this blog/magazine!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Crochet Seat Belt Cozy and Free Pattern

Is anyone else bothered by their seat belt strap during the summer? When I wear t-shirts or tank tops, my seat belt strap feels like it's chafing my skin, especially if I get a bit of sunburn. Crochet a simple seat belt cozy that buttons onto your belt and viola! Problem solved.

Free Crochet Seat Belt Cozy Pattern

You'll need:
1 ball of cotton yarn, medium (4) weight (such as Sugar and Cream)
Crochet hook size G or H.
Two buttons with shanks, 1/2 to 5/8"
Needle and matching thread

Row 1: Ch 27. Turn.
Row 2: DC in second chain from hook and across to end of row, Ch. 2. Turn.
Rows 3 to 11: DC in each stitch; Ch. 2, turn at end of each row.
Row 12-14: DC across in each st, at end of row, sk last stitch, Ch. 2 and turn. (This will decrease rows to the end, making a tab.
Fasten off yarn at end of Row 14, weave in ends.

With same or contrasting color yarn, SC around outside of cozy.

For buttons, wrap cozy around your seat belt and mark button placement. Sew on buttons and enjoy your new comfortable seat belt!

What projects have you designed to solve an everyday need or problem?

Monday, June 06, 2011

What to do with a pound of vanilla beans!

The first time I saw anyone use vanilla beans was Ina Garten on Barefoot Contessa. She said vanilla beans were expensive so I dismissed buying them myself, putting vanilla beans in the same category as saffron. I'd also never seen them for sale in my usual shopping spots either.

The first time I saw/smelled/used vanilla beans was when a swap partner sent me some as part of my package. Could not believe how good they smelled! I promptly made vanilla sugar and won't be without it in my cupboard!

Vanilla Sugar

Take 2-3 vanilla beans and place them in a mason jar of sugar. Your sugar will be flavored with vanilla in a week or so. Just keep adding sugar to the jar; the beans will last for years.

I've read online for years about how to make your own vanilla extract. I just never got around to doing it until a co-worker asked if I wanted to be part of her online vanilla bean order. So, my pound of Tahitian vanilla beans arrived and we started our homemade vanilla extract.

Vanilla Extract


A bottle of cheap vodka (or other grain alcohol. I've heard rum is also delicious.)
3/4 pound of vanilla beans

Make a slit in each vanilla bean and drop into the alcohol. Let sit in your pantry for 3 to 4 months. Remove the beans, strain if desired and enjoy your vanilla extract!

Finally, I put some of the saved vanilla beans into homemade ice cream. (Slit open the bean, scrap out some of the seeds and add to ice cream base.) It's the same flavor boost as using orange zest in cooking. Very intense flavor and sooo yummy!

So I hope this inspires you to get some vanilla beans and enjoy using them in your kitchen!
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