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  • Start a Temperature Blanket in the New Year

    Temperature blankets are a hot trend (no pun intended) in the crafting world, and the start of a new year is the perfect time to begin yours! It's a fun, year-long project.

    To make one, work a row for each day in a color that corresponds to that day's temperature. You can knit or crochet them, it doesn't matter. If you stick to a simple pattern for either craft you will end up with a beautiful finished project. No need to be fancy because the colors are what matter here.

    See the sample color chart below. You can alter it to suit your own preferences if you want. In New York City, we see temperatures from frigid to sweltering at different times of the year. If your climate is vastly different, you may not need all of these categories. This was made for Vanna's Choice® yarn, and you can always substitute other colors.


    Of course, you don't have to make this for the upcoming year. Use this handy website to create a pattern for any year and location. This is great for commemorating a big life event. For example, make one for the year and location a couple was married as an anniversary gift, or the first year of a new baby's life.

    If you want to make it for yourself, try the year you were born. It's also fun to compare years. I generated one for my birth year and place as an example, and another in the same zip code for 2015. There are actually a lot of differences.

    Temperature Patterns

    You definitely want to keep the pattern itself basic and simple. You may not even want to work from a pattern, and just do plain garter stitch or single crochet. A simple chevron can add a little interest without distracting from the colors, too.

    If you'd rather have a set pattern to work from, these are good choices:

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  • How Many Projects Are You Working On?

    Everyone is different when it comes to crafting. Some prefer to work one project to completion, while others have several going at once.


    There's no right or wrong way to be, and who even knows why we are different. Maybe it has to do with attention span or organization, or maybe it's about that rush of excitement that comes from casting on a new project. Perhaps some prefer the sense of satisfaction that comes from finishing one. The question is, which one are you?

    How many projects are you working on right now?

    Personally, I'm the type who has many projects going at once. I just tried to mentally tally up my knitting, and I got to about a dozen pieces before giving up. It's hard to say why, exactly. I think I just get excited about the possibilities that come from new projects, so I can't resist casting on more, no matter how many I'm already working on.

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  • How to Crochet the Kitchen Cotton Shaped Washcloth

    by Tamara Kelly,

    Summer or winter, I love making a crochet washcloth or dishcloth! They are quick, fun, useful, and a great way to learn new techniques, stitches, and try out your ideas! And the Lion Brand® Kitchen Cotton Shaped Washcloth is one of my favorites! Here's how it's made!

    washcloth tutorial

    First, you'll want to gather your supplies - Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton yarn, a US-J (6.0 mm) hook, and the Shaped Washcloth pattern - it's easy to download or print and follow along! And a cuppa whatever you like of course!

    Then, we start with a magic circle. If you're not familiar with the magic circle, be sure to check out the video below, as well as the written description in the pattern. It's a great technique, but if you prefer to skip the magic circle, then you can just make a slip knot, use your fingers to open it up so it's bigger (like a ring!) and crochet into that!

    So, with your circle made, we begin Round 1. Chain 3 - this counts as our first double crochet of the round. Then double crochet in the ring, and chain 1. Then double crochet twice in the ring and chain 1 five times - at the end of Round 1 you should have 12 double crochets (including the chain 3!) and 6 chains. Join to the top of the chain 3 with a slip stitch and done!

    On to Round 2! We're going to slip stitch on over to the first chain 1 space, and then start with another chain 3 that acts as a double crochet. Double crochet, chain 1, and make 2 more double crochets in that same chain 1 space. Then skip the next 4 stitches and work 2 double crochets, a chain 1, and 2 more double crochets in the next chain 1 space. Do this in each chain 1 space around until you have 24 double crochets and 6 chain 1 spaces. Don't forget to join with a slip stitch at the top of the chain 3!

    Round 3: We start by working slip stitches to the next chain 1 space again, but be sure to leave these slip stitches a little bit looser - you'll be working into one of them at the end of this round! Then it starts the same - chain 3, and work a double crochet, chain 1, and 2 more double crochets in that first chain 1 space. Then double crochet in the next stitch, skip 2 stitches, double crochet in the next stitch (the one right before the next chain 1 space), and work the 2 double crochets, chain 1, and 2 double crochets in the chain space.

    Work your way around, working a double crochet in the stitch before the chain space, the 2 double crochet, chain 1, 2 double crochets in each chain space, and double crochet in the stitch after each chain space. You'll end with a double crochet in the slip stitch that's right before the very first chain 1 space you worked into. Don't forget to join to the top of the chain 3!

    Round 4 is pretty similar, and the pattern for the rest of the rows starts getting pretty well established. Start by slip stitching to the first chain 1 space, then ch 3 and work the double crochet, chain 1, 2 double crochets in the chain space. Then, double crochet in the next TWO stitches, skip the next 2 stitches again, and double crochet in the next TWO stitches before the chain 1 space. The chain 1 spaces are treated the same in every round - 2 double crochets, chain 1, 2 double crochets. And we work one more double crochet on each side of that chain space with each round!

    So as we work through Rounds 5 through 8, we increase by one stitch on each side of the chain space set of stitches, always skipping 2 stitches in between!

    By the time you get to Round 8, you'll have 6 double crochet stitches on either side of the 2 double crochets, chain 1, 2 double crochets set.

    One of the things I love about this pattern is that you can make them any size you like. I like to stop around Round 6 for a washcloth - or you could keep going and going in pattern for a blanket!

    It's an easy to memorize pattern and by changing sizes and colors you can make all sorts of lovely projects. And to help, here's a video tutorial!

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