Saturday, August 30, 2014

Crochet Edging for Anti Pill Fleece Girl Toddler Blanket - FREE Pattern - Plus Fabric Review



I tried to get this posted yesterday but I didn't get home early enough - but, it's a nice way to start off the day!

This is the second post I've done for crochet edging on fleece blankets - my first being the Crochet Edging for Ultra Cuddle Fleece Boy Toddler Blanket.

This blanket was inspired by as well as a gift to my little cousin, Madison. The fabric is so cute! I was thinking it would also make a nice gift to give at a baby shower.

Find below my free pattern and Anti Pill Fleece fabric review.


Materials:
- Anti-Pill Fleece - I was not able to find the link to the fabric I bought from JoAnn's so I will have to update once I find out the name
Skip-Stitch Blade #1 (Skip-Stitch site)
45mm Fiskar's Rotary Cutter (Joann's)
- Self Healing Mat to Cut on (I didn't have) 
- 4.25mm Crochet Hook (a 4mm or 4.5mm will also work!)
- Worsted Weight Yarn - I used about 135 yards of Red Heart Soft in Chocolate and 135 yards I Love This Yarn in Pink Neon (I tried to match the colors in the blanket.)
   - Tapestry Needle for Weaving in Ends and/or for Foundation Blanket Stitch (if you don't have/want to use the skip stitch blade)
   - Ruler and/or Tape Measure

Notes on Supplies:
   
   Skip Stitch Blade: There are three different sizes of skip stitch blades. I choose the Blade #1 because it states that it is "perfect for perforating fleece and similar fabrics..." 
On my post for the Ultra Cuddle Fleece, you will find I DO NOT recommend using the skip stitch blade for the foundation perforation as the fabric is quite fragile, however, it works perfect on the Anti-Pill Fleece!
*I do have a post on Changing the Blade on Your Rotary Cutter in case you need some help!

   Ultra Cuddle Fleece: During my trip to Joann's, I found it rather difficult to choose just two yards out of all of the great options available. My inspiration was my little cousins, Tyler and Madison. Tyler is obsessed with Star Wars hence the choice of the Star Wars fleece - you can find my post on this in the Crochet Edging for Ultra Cuddle Fleece Boy Toddler Blanket. Madison is a girly girl.

Along with all the great theme options, I also found SEVERAL different types fleece. I am not a sewer or quilter and not really familiar with the different fabric types so to guide my choice, I took a look at the No Sew Throw kits to see which type of fleece they use. Then, I went back to the fleece. I decided to get a yard of the Anti Pill fleece (same as kits) and one yard of the Ultra Cuddle Fleece so I could test the differences myself.

After working with the Ultra Cuddle Fleece and finding that it was quite fragile as it tears easily, I was a little worried that I'd go through the same thing with the Anti Pill Fleece. I found this was NOT the case at all! The Anti-Pill Fleece isn't quite as soft as the Ultra Cuddle Fleece but it is much stronger and sturdier. I found on the Ultra Cuddle Fleece that if the hole was missing, I could simply poke my regular crochet hook through the fabric and create a hole. I tried to do this with the Anti Pill Fleece FIRST to see if it was as easy before I ran my Skip Stitch Blade across it and as hard as i tried, I was unsuccessful. There wasn't any tearing at any point and I did not feel the need to be gentle while holding and manipulating the fabric. 
CONCLUSION: Skip Stitch Blades work GREAT on Anti-Pill Fleece.

Time Spent:
   It took me approximately three and a half hours to complete this blanket including the cutting and crocheting.

Measurements:
   This blanket measures 40.5" long by 31.5" long.
*To achieve this size, I cut the fleece to these exact measurements. When you perforate it, you will take it in 1" on each side but the border will bring it back to these measurements as it adds 1" on each side.

Abbreviations:
   SC - Single Crochet
   ea - each
   ST - stitch
   sl st - slip stitch
   CH - chain
   HDC - Half Double Crochet
   DC - Double Crochet
   SC2TOG - Single Crochet Two Stitches Together (Decrease)

Notes for Pattern:
   If you are interested in working the foundation round with a blanket stitch instead of with the skip stitch blade and your crochet hook, I found a really great tutorial courtesy of Kelli and Greta of Holiday Crafts and Creations - How to Do Blanket Stitch.

Tutorial and Pattern:


First, remove the fine print section.
You will want to cut just inside of the color separation so you
don't get any of the white line.


One of my sides looked like this -
all frilly and such.
I did not cut this off because I
figured I'd be crocheting over it
anyway.
My fabric was only slightly uneven. I took
out my scissors and cut it even.
As my second go round, I found it much easier
to fold the fabric in half and cut both layers together.
You could also just use the straight edge that comes
on the rotary cutter to cut across. (It was too late
when I thought of this!)


Instead of eyeballing it this time, I
decided to use a really big ruler I found
in my mom's room - thanks Mom! and a
pen to mark my line. Then, I cut just
inside the line to ensure none would be
left visible (but it is going to be
crocheted over anyway so it doesn't
matter!)
I had previously seen someone sew a
border around the blanket and then add
the foundation round just underneath
the sewn stitches.
I asked my mom how she normally does
it and she told me she just folds over the
end and crochets over it so, I
measured out 1".
Then, I moved this really long ruler over just a
touch and used it as a guide for my cutting.


I didn't get any pictures of the rotary
cutter in action on this blanket so I
borrowed this one from my Ultra CuddleFleece post.
Make sure to move your ruler over just
a tiny bit so you are perforating at the 1"
mark and not inside of it.
*NOTE: I did not have a self healing mat to
do this cutting on. I took LOTS of scrap
paper that I had and just stacked them on
top of each other - each sheet was a piece
of computer paper. I folded them in half and
then stacked them in piles of 5 sheets.
These are what your perforations will
look like.




This is a view from the backside.
You will insert your hole from the
right side facing you. Fold over the
top edge of the fabric so that the tip
lays right on top of the holes you
made. You will be crocheting over this
piece all the way around. This is for
added security.
Attach your yarn with a SC to the first hole (preferrably
not the corner as it puts added pressure on the stitch),
and then CH 1.



Continue along side down to first corner:
(SC in next hole, CH 1) across.

This is a back view of your first few stitches. You can see my tail
on the left side. I tucked this into the center of the fabric I folded
over and crocheted over both together.


On my Ultra Cuddle blanket, I just
folded over the edge. It came out a
little more bulky then I would have liked,
so in this blanket, I decided to trim the
edge. I did this at an angle.
Be careful not to cut too close to the
stitches.
You will still need to slightly fold over the
remaining corner fabric.
To work the corner:
(You will have previously worked a SC, CH 1),
SC, CH 1, SC, CH 1 all in same ST.
Then, continue working the side as previously
done (SC, CH 1) across.


Once all the way around, Join to the first ST and CH 1.

You've finished the foundation round of your blanket!
You can leave your blanket like this if you want. You will
find in the stores that they sell fleece blankets with
just the blanket stitch around them.
OR, you can continue on...

I had one odd piece in which one hole did not get made by my
Skip Stitch Blade. To compensate, I CHd 2 (instead of 1).
It does stick out a little here, but with the rest of the crocheting,
you won't even notice it!
I did try to poke a hole in it with one of my sharper crochet
hooks, and was unsuccessful.

Round 1:
From the previous CH 1:
(HDC in ea HDC and CH 1 sp across to corner,
2 HDC in ea HDC of the corner, 1 HDC in CH 1 sp of corner)
around blanket.
Join to first HDC, CH 1.
For the next round, I changed to pink.
You can continue on with the first color if you like.
*For my first blanket, I did my first round with SCs. It came out
thin so I decided with this one, I wanted more substance
choosing a HDC to do so.

You've finished the first round of your blanket!
You can leave your blanket like this if you want.
OR, you can continue on...



To complete Round 2:
CH 1, [(SC in ea HDC across to corner, (2 SC in
next ST of corner,  SC in ea of next 2 HDC of corner, repeat
twice more)] around blanket.
Join to first SC, CH 1.
For Round 3, I changed to a Shell border, that's why I only
made this round in SC. If you don't want to do the shells, but
want to continue on, just do so in same manner (with increases
in each corner).


You've finished the second round of your blanket!
You can leave your blanket like this if you want.
OR, you can continue on...

Round 3:
To work the Shell: SC in the first ST, then
(SK 2 SCs, 5 DC in next SC, SK 2 SCs, SC in next SC) around entire blanket.
There will be no increases done at the corners but it will still lay flat.
*I did not have the extra number of STs needed to evenly work
the shells around so to correct this, for the last four SCs, I worked
a SC2TOG (decrease).
Join to first ST. Fasten off. Weave in ends.

Finished Round 3!

I stopped here. Initially, I did not plan on doing the last round
as a Shell border hence, the two colors in the border. If I were to
make another, I'd probably only use one color for all of the rounds.
It still came out really cute though!
Don't Crochet but Interested in Purchasing an Anti-Pill Fleece Blanket with a Crochet Edge?
I will be adding this blanket and more to my Etsy shop! 
Find some options here: Anti Pill Fleece, I Love This Yarn (for border), Red Heart Soft (for border). Feel free to send in your custom requests! Visit my Etsy shop for other baby blankets!

*JoAnn's also sells licensed fabrics (ie Disney, Hasbro, Nickelodeon, NHL, MLB, etc), however, licensed fabrics are not to be used for commercial purposes so I will not be able to sell any of these.
Any licensed fabric blanket would be a great gift to donate to a local children's hospital. Make sure to contact the volunteering department of the hospital first for rules and regulations for handmade items. I plan on making some to donate!

I've visited JoAnn's online and picked out the following with suggestions for the fleece. Just as an idea!

   - On the Farm Pink - Girl's Room
   - Dinosaur Roar - Boy's Room
   - Western Boy in Tan - Boy's Room; Western Photo Prop
   - Hot Air Balloons - Nursery
   - My Sunshine in Blue - Boy's Nursery
   - My Sunshine in Pink - Girl's Nursery
   - Pastel Birds - Girl's Room; Spring Baby Girl Nursery
   - Galaxy Quest - Boy's Room; Kid's Room
   - Fancy Owl - Older Girl's Room
   - Packed Footballs - Boy's Room; Older Boys Room; Man Cave; Football Fan
   - Jigsaw Puzzle - Kid's Room; Gift to Elementary School Teacher
   - Pirate Bear - Boy's Room
   - Go Fish - Father's Day Gift; Man Cave
   - Western Girl in Pink - Girl's Room; Western Photo Prop
   - Crossword Puzzle - Mom's Day
   - Neon Dot Shades - Older Kid's Room
   - Go Fly a Kite - Kid's Room
   - Fashion Frames - Mom's Day; Fashionista; Shopping Fan
   - Banana's for Mommy in Blue - Boy Nursery
   - Banana's for Mommy in Pink - Girl Nursery
   - Blue and Gold Chevrons - Sport Lovers
   - Camo in Tan and Olive - Support Your Troops; Army
   - Pink Ribbons on White - Breast Cancer Awareness; Charity
   - Dominoes Mineral - Living Room Sampler

Linked Up To...
10 Simple DIY Projects, I'm Lovin It - Tidy Mom
Kitchen Fun and Craft Friday #28 - Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons
Wonderful Blog Hop #5 - A Mother's Shadow
Yarn Fanatic Party #4 - The Philosopher's Wife
Sharing Time Week 5 - Raising Memories
Creative Collection Link Party - Blooming Homestead / The Cards We Drew
Best DIY Projects and Recipes #19 - The 36th Avenue
Serenity Saturday #148 - Serenity You
Craft Schooling Sunday - Creative Jewish Mom
Easy Weeknight Dinner Ideas, Inspiration Monday - Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom
Grateful Heart Linky Party - It's Overflowing
Think Pink Sunday No. 180 - Flamingo Toes
The Sunday Showcase No. 257 - By Stephanie Lynn

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Crochet Edging for Ultra Cuddle Fleece Boy Toddler Blanket - FREE Pattern - Plus Fabric Review

To reiterate the introduction to my Changing the Blade on Your Rotary Cutter post from yesterday: 

My mom loves to crochet edgings around receiving blankets to give as gifts. She keeps telling me how easy it is and that I should try it too but I'm stubborn and kept putting it off.

Last week, I received an email from Joann's saying Fleece was on sale so I decided to visit my local Joann's to pick some up. 

Below, you will find my free pattern and Ultra Cuddle Fleece fabric review. Enjoy!

*Side Note: Based on my experience with this fabric, I do not recommend the ultra cuddle fleece for a baby. It's better for children 3 years and older.


Materials:
   - *Ultra Cuddle Fleece - I used the licensed Star Wars #12033585 (Joann's)
   - Skip-Stitch Blade #1 (Skip-Stitch site)
   - 45mm Fiskar's Rotary Cutter (Joann's)
   - Self Healing Mat to Cut on (I didn't have) 
   - 5mm Crochet Hook
   - Worsted Weight Yarn - I used 45 yards of I Love This Yarn in Yellow & 90 yards of Red Heart Soft in Chocolate (I tried to match the colors in the blanket.)
   - Tapestry Needle for Weaving in Ends and/or Sewing Needle for Foundation Blanket Stitch or sewing up any tears in fabric
   - Ruler and/or Tape Measure

Notes on Supplies:
   
   Skip Stitch Blade: There are three different sizes of skip stitch blades. I choose the Blade #1 because it states that it is "perfect for perforating fleece and similar fabrics..." 
*For ultra cuddle fleece - I DO NOT RECOMMEND using the skip stitch blade. I recommend just using a hook with a semi-sharp end or using a needle and thread to create the blanket stitch. See notes on Ultra Cuddle Fleece below.

   Ultra Cuddle Fleece: During my trip to Joann's, I found it rather difficult to choose just two yards out of all of the great options available. My inspiration was my little cousins, Tyler and Madison. Tyler is obsessed with Star Wars hence the choice of the Star Wars fleece. Madison is a girly girl. You will see my choice for her tomorrow! 

Along with all the great theme options, I also found five different types fleece. I am not a sewer or quilter and not really familiar with the different fabric types so to guide my choice, I took a look at the No Sew Throw kits to see which type of fleece they use. Then, I went back to the fleece. I decided to get a yard of the Anti Pill fleece (same as kits) and one yard of the Ultra Cuddle Fleece so I could test the differences myself.

You will find out about the Anti Pill Fleece in tomorrow's post!

After completing all steps up to the crocheting of the foundation round, I found that the Ultra Cuddle Fleece is quite fragile if you will. The netting that holds it all together, is rather loose making it much easier to push the head of a not-so-dull crochet hook through WITHOUT the need for the perforation. I found that with the perforated holes, the fleece tended to tear. I felt like the hole time I was crocheting around the fleece, I had to be extra carefully not to tear the fleece further. 
CONCLUSION: DO NOT USE SKIP STITCH BLADE on Ultra Cuddle Fleece. Rather, use a not-so-dull crochet hook to make the holes OR use a needle a thread to create a blanket stitch for the foundation.

Time Spent:
   It took me approximately three hours to complete this blanket including the cutting, crocheting and sewing up of the torn areas.

Measurements:
   Before adding the crocheted border, I cut the fleece to measure 44" long by 33" wide. I worked around the existing squares on the fleece.
   After adding the crocheted border, the blanket measures 42" long by 32" wide.
**See the pattern below to find out why it got a little smaller.

Abbreviations:
   SC - Single Crochet
   ea - each
   ST - stitch
   sl st - slip stitch
   CH - chain

Notes for Pattern:
   To work a blanket stitch, I found a really great tutorial courtesy of Kelli and Greta of Holiday Crafts and Creations - How to Do Blanket Stitch.

Tutorial and Pattern:

First, remove the fine print section.
You will want to cut just inside of the color separation so you
don't get any of the white line.

After cutting the white section, I had to deal with the
uneven-ness that I had received. Yuck!
I wanted the blanket to be of full squares but because of the
uneven squares - I had to rework it.

I decided I would have full squares in
the center and then half squares
surrounding.
I cut this with my scissors and eyeballed
the measurements. You can use a ruler to
help. You can also use the rotary cutter
with the straight edge that it comes with
to cut the fleece.
View of the other end of my evening attempt.



I had previously seen someone sew a
border around the blanket and then add
the foundation round just underneath
the sewn stitches.
I asked my mom how she normally does
it and she told me she just folds over the
end and crochets over it so, I
measured out 1".
Then, I moved the ruler over just a touch so
that I would be perforating at the 1" mark.

*NOTE: I did not have a self healing mat to
do this cutting on. I took LOTS of scrap
paper that I had and just stacked them on
top of each other - each sheet was a piece
of computer paper. I folded them in half and
then stacked them in piles of 5 sheets.


This is what the hole with look like.
Before beginning your foundation round, you
will want to fold over the top piece of the fleece
as you will crochet over it. The top line will sit right
underneath the hole.
This is the back view. The arrow shows the hole.


To begin your foundation row, attach your yarn
in any hole.
I started mine in a corner and found out the hard
way that you probably should NOT start in a
corner. It still works, just puts more pressure on the
hole of the corner.

Front view of first four stitches.
After you attach your yarn:
SC in the ST, CH 1, (SC in next ST, CH 1) across to corner.

Back view of first four stitches.

You will see my tail on the left side. To hide it,
I pushed it up into the fold of the the fleece
crocheted over both of them.
Sometimes, it was difficult to find the holes in
the fleece. This is basically how my hand looked
as I felt around for the hole. Pretend that you see
the fleece in between my fingers and that right
where they join on the right side is where my crochet
hook was. I pressed the hook up against my middle
finger and moved it around until I found the hole.
Similar to putting on studded earrings.


Front view of the first half of first side.

Reached the corner.

Back view of corner.

For this one, I folded over the excess fleece to
crochet over.
UPDATE: In my Crochet Edging for Anti Pill
Fleece Toddler Blanket, I decided to cut this
excess at an angle.
To work the corner:
(You will have already worked one SC, CH 1),
SC in same ST, CH 1, SC in same ST, CH 1.
Then, (SC in next ST, CH 1) across to next corner.
Repeat this process all the way around.


Once you get around, this is what the last corner will look like if
you've begun your first stitch in the corner space like I did. In this case
you will work the corner as:
(You will have previously worked the first SC and CH 1), SC in same
ST, CH 1. Join to the first ST.


Then CH 1 to begin the next round.
You've finished the foundation round of your blanket!
You can leave your blanket like this if you want. You will
find in the stores that they sell ultra cuddle fleece blankets with
just the blanket stitch around them.
OR, you can continue on...

From the previous CH 1:
(SC in ea SC and CH 1 sp across to corner,
2 SC in ea SC of the corner, 1 SC in CH 1 sp)
around blanket.
Join to first SC. For the next round, I changed
to brown. You can continue on with the first
color if you like.
You've finished the first round of your blanket!
You can leave your blanket like this if you want.
OR, you can continue on...





To complete Round 2:
CH 1, [(SC in ea SC across to corner, (2 SC in
next ST of corner,  SC in next 2 SC) repeat
twice more)] around blanket.
Join to first SC. Here I fasten off.
You can continue around in same manner
(with increases in each corner).
Finished Round Two! Now just weave in your ends!

If you have any torn areas (like I did!), thread a needle
with some embroidery needle or strong sewing thread,
and stitch up the tears. I don't have any photos of this.


Don't Crochet but Interested in Purchasing an Ultra Cuddle Fleece Toddler Blanket with a Crocheted Edge?
Licensed fabrics are not to be used for commercial purposes so I will not be able to sell any of these Star Wars blankets but I am happy to make other blankets with the crocheted border. Find some options here: Ultra Cuddle FleeceAnti Pill Fleece, I Love This Yarn (for border), Red Heart Soft (for border). Feel free to send in your custom requests! Visit my Etsy shop for other baby blankets!

Any licensed fabric blanket would be a great gift to donate to a local children's hospital. Make sure to contact the volunteering department of the hospital first for rules and regulations for handmade items. I plan on making some to donate!

Here's a preview of what's to come tomorrow! Make sure to check back then!!
It will include a free pattern and fabric review.
This one is a sturdier, better option for babies (though made for my toddler aged cousin, Madison).



Linked Up To...
10 Simple DIY Projects, I'm Lovin It - Tidy Mom
Kitchen Fun and Craft Friday #28 - Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons
Wonderful Blog Hop #5 - A Mother's Shadow
Yarn Fanatic Party #4 - The Philosopher's Wife
Sharing Time Week 5 - Raising Memories
Creative Collection Link Party - Blooming Homestead / The Cards We Drew
Best DIY Projects and Recipes #19 - The 36th Avenue
Serenity Saturday #148 - Serenity You
Craft Schooling Sunday - Creative Jewish Mom
Easy Weeknight Dinner Ideas, Inspiration Monday - Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom
Grateful Heart Linky Party - It's Overflowing
Think Pink Sunday No. 180 - Flamingo Toes
The Sunday Showcase No. 257 - By Stephanie Lynn