- Choose your patterns from the internet or library books. With so many free patterns are available, it doesn’t make sense to pay for one.
- Pick pattern that emphasize your skill, not a beautiful yarn. It’s tempting to go with a quick, simple pattern that gets its glamour from the yarn that is used, but it is also a lot more expensive.
- Make mainly knit and crochet things you really need and would have bought anyway. If you know you will need to give a baby gift or buy a new sweater for December, choose these as your projects. Crocheting another scarf when you already have 6 in your closet, is a waste of time and money.
- Buy your supplies at yard sales, thrift stores, sales or ebay.
- Reuse yarn from garments you no longer enjoy or those bought second hand. There are some great instructions on how to do this available on the internet.
- Feel free to substitute a cheaper type of yarn for a more expensive one. Some free patterns from yarn companies feature their most costly yarns. Often a cheaper yarn will also work with the pattern.
- Knit or crochet with rags and/or plastic bags. A search on Google will provide plenty of patterns for both materials.
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I’ve been in love with kimonos for the last five years; ever since I read Memoirs Of A Geisha. That book’s descriptions of the fabrics, the fit, the colors and the patterns of the kimono totally enchanted me. I am hooked for life.
That’s why I was so delighted to find Knit Kimono by by Vickie Square.
Ms. Square has taken all the beauty and grace of the kimono, and translated it into a knit garment. This 128 page book contains patterns for 18 different projects. The projects range from short jackets to full length robes and include everything in between.
The thing I find most delightful about the patterns in this book, is that they are essentially nothing but rectangles. Yes, the rectangles incorporate lovely patterns and yarns, but when all is said and done, they are still rectangles.
Why is this so important?
It means that the patterns in Knit Kimono are accessible to virtually everyone. Even knitters with very little experience can carefully follow the directions and come out with a charming garment. That is a claim that very few knitting books can make.
Get your own copy of Knit Kimono: 18 Designs with Simple Shapes at Amazon.
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Ready to shake things up a little? Take your next project to a whole new level by experimenting with fun alternatives to store bought yarn. Each of the fibers I list can be used for both knit and crochet projects, and as an accent or for the entire piece.
Here are some of my favorites
1. Plarn – Popular for the last few years, Plarn is an acronym for plastic yarn. Grocery bags and trash bags are recycled into placemats, tote bags and wash clothes.
2. Pet Hair Yarn – Spin yarn from cat hair, dog hair and even rabbit fur. The resulting fiber makes sweaters and hats with a novel story to tell.
3. Recycled Newspaper Yarn – At 20 yards of yarn from a single sheet, newspaper yarn enables you to do a lot, with little. Turn recycled newspapers into floor mats, wall hangings and other decorative objects.
4. T-Shirt Yarn – Since t-shirt yarn is both durable and bulky, it makes great trivets, rugs, washcloths. If “country” is not your style you may want to dye the t-shirts before using them.
5. Wire – Working with wire is not too different than working with yarn….just a bit harder on your hands. Combine the wire with beads for some seriously wonderful jewelry designs.
6. Raffia – These fibers will all be a lot more difficult to use than yarn, but the interesting texture will make the extra effort worthwhile.
7. Denim – Denim is extremely hardy, so it’s perfect for rug making, shopping bags, trivets and pot holders.
8. VCR VHF Tapes – When I first heard about crafters using VCR VHF tapes for knitting and crocheting, I thought the results would appear juvenile and unattractive. Not any more. You’ll be surprised at how nice tape projects turn out.
9. Polymer Clay - Create amazingly beautiful jewelry using an easy- to- master faux knitting technique…Not real knitting, but so wonderful, it was impossible to resist!
10. Repurposed Sweaters – With today’s emphasis on economy and reuse, it’s not surprising if we look back to our frugal ancestors for some “new” ways of recycling. Unravel your own out-of-style garments or thrift store garments when your yarn collection gets low.
How about string, thread, ribbon, discarded silk clothes, sheets, narrow rope, curtains and pantyhose. Virtually anything goes.
Just remember the saying…. If you can think it, you can do it!
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