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design, free patterns, quilting

My friend Kathreen Ricketson kindly invited me to guest post over at Whipup today. Kathreen started Whipup many years ago and for a year and a half or so I contributed weekly to her blog before starting Craft Nectar. Although we have never met because Kathreen lives in Australia and I live in the US, we have cheered each other on over the years, and email each other often. I admire her contribution to the blog world greatly. If you haven’t visited before, you are in for a treat. Whipup has a wealth of links to tutorials of all sorts and there’s a daily dose of crafty inspiration to be had there.

As this is such a special occasion, Bill and I put together a free pattern for a throw quilt for both Craft Nectar and Whipup readers. The pattern, called Window Shopping, uses those large-scale prints that we all love but sometimes find challenging to use. Window Shopping goes together in a snap so I hope it becomes your go-to pattern when you need a last-minute quilt.

FunQuilts has a very limited edition of kits for this quilt so give us a call at (708) 445-1817 if these are fabrics that you can’t live without. Otherwise, I’ll be back in a bit with lots of new posts to get us all through these last couple of months of winter.



a quilt for the boy next door

design, family, free patterns, quilting

One of the great aspects of being a grown-up is watching children you know blossom. Such has been the case for our family watching the eldest of the boys next door grow up over the past nine years. His family moved next door in 2001 and we’ve watched him find his way through middle school and high school.

We wrote letters of recommendation for him to participate in the wonderful People to People program and lent him our favorite travel gear as he traveled the world with People to People. We watched with excitement as he became the first in his family to apply to colleges and cheered him on when he got scholarships to go. He sat with us at our kitchen table to discuss his college options and his interest in foreign affairs. We could not let him leave for college without a quilt from us to go on his dorm room bed. On the label we wrote: “We’re cheering you on from Carpenter Avenue!” We gave it to him last spring when he graduated from high school and got all teary to see the pride and gratitude in his parents’ eyes.

I’m guessing that you too have some great teenager in your life that you’d like to cheer on as the graduation season approaches, so here’s a PDF of the pattern we made for our inspiring boy next door.

lickety split legwarmers

design, free patterns, knitting

When you live in a cold climate it’s all about layering. Until last winter I had thought that legwarmers, however, needed to remain in dance studios or revivals of the movie Flashdance. It was our daughter’s second grade classroom that changed my mind. For some reason her classroom was unbearably hot in the winter, which meant that she was constantly going back and forth between a 75-degree classroom and a 20-degree or colder playground and bus stop. As an experiment I bought a cheap pair of legwarmers off the sale cart at Target to see if having an removable layer on her legs would help her acclimate back and forth between the temperature extremes. The legwarmers also became helpful under her choir robe when dress shoes wouldn’t accommodate thick socks. I was sold.

For Christmas this year, I decided to knit some nicer legwarmers. Knowing how much use they’d get I ordered superwash wool yarn so they would be able to go in the laundry with everything else. I got Cascade 220 which works well with #7 for the ribbing and #8 needles for the base. I’ve sized these to fit a tall 8-year old but they could fit a wide range of legs and ages is my guess.

Pattern for Lickety Split Legwarmers

One ball of Cascade 220 in color A

One ball of Cascade 220 in color B

#7 dpns for ribbing

#8 dpns for base

Cast on 44 stitches with color A yarn and divide stitches among three #7 dpns.

Making sure that the stitches are not twisted, join together and begin k2p2 ribbing. Continue ribbing for 2″.

Switch to #8 dpns and begin knitting with color B. Continue to knit in the round for 6 rows.

Switch to color A and knit for 3 rows.

Repeat the stripes until there are 8 stripes of color A and 9 stripes of color B. At this point the piece should be about 16″ long.

Switch to #7 dpns and color A. Resume k2p2 ribbing for 2″ and bind off.

Repeat for other legwarmer.