My Top Five Crochet Stitches

Now that summer is here, I find myself picking up my crochet hook again to finish a few projects that I had shelved during the school year. I started crocheting about two years ago, and so I’ve picked up a few stitches through my various projects. Here is a list of my top five:

5. Crocodile Stitch

Crocodile Stitch (The Spruce Crafts)

Now, I am not a huge fan of textured stitches, which is probably why this stitch is #5 on my list. However, this stitch was just so much fun for me. I love how well it layers and how pretty it looks. The first time I encountered this stitch was when I was trying to make a little Christmas tree ornament (which I succeeded in making) and the crocodile stitch was perfect for it.

This stitch is a little confusing though, probably a more advanced-beginner level. Knowledge of how to work post stitches is required. I used Bella Coco’s tutorial to learn it: https://youtu.be/X831BvT42xU

4. Sprig Stitch

Sprig Stitch (Bella Coco)

The Sprig Stitch is another great stitch that I use. It’s really simple and works up quite fast. The only reason it’s not absolutely amazing (for me) is that it’s got a few (make that lots of) holes. I don’t like making blankets that have a ton of holes, mostly because I tend to get things stuck in them, but this stitch is perfect for making cupholders (and sometimes decorative potholders), of which I have quite a few.

I used Bella Coco’s tutorial to learn the sprig stitch: https://youtu.be/ORBx8zKK1Qk

3. Puff Ripple Stitch

Puff Ripple Stitch (Hooked by Robin)

Now, “Puff Ripple” is a pretty generic name, so there’s a lot of Google results that are all different, but the photo above is the puff ripple stitch that I learned by Hooked by Robin (tutorial: https://youtu.be/BmtwZ7gTd6c)

This is one of my favorite patterns, mostly because it’s quite simple to hook and it features a wavy shape as you make it. In addition, the puff stitches are super small and quick, so this is definitely a very easy stitch as long as you know how to make puffs.

2. Jasmine Stitch

Jasmine Stitch (Desert Blossom Crafts)

The Jasmine Stitch is another example of a stitch that uses puffs, but it’s also quite a bit more complicated because you have to keep more loops on your hook (I think the max is 13 at a time). Nonetheless, I love this pattern because it’s so pretty and it’s a stitch that I use to make the most beautiful projects with.

I learned this stitch by watching Bella Coco’s tutorial: https://youtu.be/C83LRlRm7l4

1. Trinity Stitch

Trinity Stitch (Nordic Hook)

Lastly, the trinity stitch is my absolute go-to stitch, because it’s completely solid, with no holes whatsoever. The stitch works up quite quickly and I keep coming up with a myriad of uses for it. Although it’s not as pretty as the Jasmine stitch, it still features a star-type flower pattern. The only drawback is that it’s super dense, so I would not recommend it as a shawl or something else that is supposed to be light and airy.

Find Hooked by Robin’s tutorial here: https://youtu.be/AB0cFTJlURs

So, there’s a list of my top five stitches, and if you crochet I hope you find a stitch that you like. If you don’t crochet, maybe it’s time to pick up a hook and a new hobby!

Let me know in the comments what your favorite stitch is 🙂
~ Kailyn L.

My Top Five Crochet Blanket Patterns

I find in summer that I have a lot more time to sit back and relax, and I spend that time crocheting. I enjoy making blankets, either to be donated or to be used as Christmas presents, so here are my top five favorite patterns.

5. Tesselated Hearts

Tesselated Hearts (Fiber Spider)

This is a very simple tesselated hearts filet pattern that I enjoyed making very much. I chose a gray yarn to make this pattern with, and it’s working up well. The only thing I don’t like about this pattern is that it is worked in rows, not rounds, and I don’t much enjoy working in rows.

Fiber Spider’s tutorial (Part 1): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRAujqZFvS4

4. Bavarian Stitch

Bavarian Stitch Blanket (The Spruce Crafts)

The Bavarian Stitch Blanket is a great blanket to make. It involves post stitches, which creates lovely texture. However, it is a bit more challenging than some other blankets.

I used Hooked by Robin’s tutorial to learn how to crochet this blanket: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4I1KbQWtdBU

3. Star Blankets

12-Point Star Blanket (The Loophole Fox)

There are two different star blankets that I’m thinking of, the 5 point star and the 12 point star. Both are worked in-the-round. I made the 12 point star for my baby brother as his own baby blanket, and it turned out really beautiful with a variegated teal yarn. (I used Red Heart Super Saver Ombre in the color Deep Teal) The only downside is that it’s not a round or square blanket, it’s star-shaped.

Bella Coco has tutorials for both types of stars: https://youtu.be/2PXxA9CVOjo and https://youtu.be/nExlllN6NGw

2. Virus Blanket

Virus Blanket (Christine Pennylegion)

The first I made the Virus Blanket was for my mom, and I used a really bright variegated yarn pattern (Lion Brand Yarn Cupcakes in the color Clown Car). It turned out absolutely amazing. The only downside is that there are a few holes, but other than that, it’s a great in-the-round blanket.

There are so many different tutorials on this blanket, but the one that I used was Bella Coco’s: https://youtu.be/Rlf7em4OhZc

1. Lotus Blanket

Lotus Blanket (Hooked by Robin)

This is my absolute favorite blanket pattern. Ever. I made this for my aunt for Christmas, and it was so stunning. The only thing is it’s just a bit complicated, but you get rewarded with such a pretty design! Find Hooked by Robin’s tutorial (Part 1) here: https://youtu.be/L–tTTLAi5A

So, there’s a list of my top five blanket patterns, and if you crochet I hope you make an amazing blanket you enjoy. If you don’t crochet, maybe it’s time to pick up a hook and a new hobby! (You’ll definitely never run out of Christmas ideas too!)

Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever made any of these blankets. 🙂
~ Kailyn L.

Home Ec At Home: How To Braid

This simple skill is important because you can use it on yourself or for others. It’s nice to know how to braid your own hair, or even your future child’s. Whether you are a boy or girl it is a good skill. It has more uses than just a hairstyle. You could use it in baking, for ropes, bracelets etc.

Step 1: Separate hair (or other item) into three equal sections
Step 2: Take one of the outer sections and cross it over the center(left or right)
Step 3: Take the outer section on the opposite side and cross it over the center as well
Step 4: Continue crossing the outer species alternating from each side

-Rachel R.

Home Ec At Home: How to Sell Clothes

There are many second-hand shopping platforms that allow sellers to independently ship items to buyers (the most popular ones are eBay, Depop, Poshmark, and Mercari).

The first step in getting some cash out of your old clothes is to sort out your clothes into piles: keep and sell.

Once you have your sell pile, ideally, you should iron them or wash them if they are wrinkly or dirty so the buyer knows that they will receive an item in wearable condition.

Next, find a solid background with good lighting. It is crucial that you take these pictures when it is sunny outside or with artificial lighting so that they can easily be seen.
If you are able to, modeling the clothes is a great option to allow your customers to see what the clothing will fit.

You don’t need to invest in an expensive camera to take pictures– a smartphone camera will do just fine. Make sure that your shadow is not in the frame, and snap a picture with the clothing item centered in the middle. Many platforms show items in a square format, so you should switch your camera setting to square mode if needed.
If you are modeling the clothing yourself, you can invest in an auto-take handheld clicker, or use the self-timer.

Finally, post the picture with a detailed description highlighting any flaws, measurements, manufacture date, and size. Set a reasonable price, or purposely set it high and have buyers offer their best price. Keep in mind that many platforms have around a 10% fee.

The final step is to wait! If your item is sold, all you have to do is pack it up and print out the prepaid label that your selling platform may provide.

Happy selling!

-Irene K.

Home Ec At Home: Banana Bread!

Ella’s Secret Banana Bread Recipe Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Refined Sugar Free

For this recipe, you are going to need dark (almost black) bananas. The darker they are, the better the banana bread will be. If your bananas aren’t ripe enough, place them in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ingredients:

2 cups of almond flour (or you can use coconut flour)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
½ cup of vegetable oil (I use olive oil)
½ cup of coconut sugar
⅛ cup of maple syrup (use ¼ to ½ cup if you want it sweeter)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 ⅓ cups of mashed bananas (about 3 small/medium size)
Unsweetened chocolate (I use 100% cacao)

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or line a 8×4 loaf pan with parchment paper.

2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl. (You will later add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients)

3. Combine oil and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. You can use a hand mixer for combining to make it easier. Next, add eggs and vanilla and mix well.

4. Mash up the bananas and combine with the wet ingredients.

5. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

6. Chop up your chocolate bar into small chunks and add to the mixture. Mix until evenly combined.

7. Pour mixture into loaf pan and bake for 50-60 (I bake mine at 55) minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Make sure not to overbake.

8. Let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely on a rack.

Storing Bread:

The bread will last anywhere between 5-7 days. Keep it wrapped in plastic wrap, foil, or in a sealed container at room temperature.

Hope you enjoy it 🙂

-Ella P.

Home Ec At Home: Making Guacamole From Scratch

Who doesn’t like Guacamole?  It is time to make some fresh.  Here is what you need and what you can do when missing a few ingredients:

Ingredients (with substitution ideas for a few):

You must have 2 large avocadoes
1/4 onion
2 cloves garlic (you can use 1 tsp garlic powder if you don’t have garlic, but it isn’t as good)
1/2 of a lime
1 pinch of cilantro – not the whole bundle, just pinch off a section the width of your thumb (if you are out of cilantro, just add more coriander when you get to that step)
1 tomato (you could add 1TBS salsa if you don’t have tomato)
1/4 tsp cumin  (or just sprinkle once around the bowl)
1/4 tsp coriander (or just sprinkle once around the bowl)
salt and pepper to taste

How to make it:

1.  Cut open the avocados and scoop them into your larger bowl.
2.  Chop 1/4 onion and two cloves of garlic on your cutting board.  Chop these very small.  Before cutting garlic, turn your knife on its side and really squish the garlic into the cutting board. This sort of minces it a little.  Then chop it up.  Add these to your bowl with the avocado
3.  Chop cilantro very well and add to bowl
4.  Chop tomato and add to bowl or add your 1TBS salsa if you are out of tomatoes
5.  Lime really helps your guacamole.  You only need half of a lime.  Squeeze it in if you have it.
6.  Now add your spices: cumin, coriander, salt, pepper. I don’t measure and just sprinkle these once around the bowl.  I added a measurement for those of you who like to be exact.
7.  Stir with a fork to mix, and I will sometimes add a TBS of water if it is too thick to get a creamier guac.  Only add a little at a time!

-Preston V

Home Ec At Home: How To Do Laundry

How to do Laundry – a need to know skill!

Start by gathering up all of your dirty clothes. Next you will need to separate them into three different piles. 

  • One pile is for all delicate clothing, meaning undergarments along with clothing made from silk, wool, lace, linen, or any other fabric that appears fine.
  • The next two piles are light and dark clothing items. The dark clothing items include reds, black, grey, dark blues, dark purples, and other dark colors. This is important or else your dark clothing can stain the lighter clothes while in the wash. 

Now that your clothes are separated the next step is to load them into the washing machine. Load your washing machine until it is about ⅔ full of clothes. Next, you will need to load laundry detergent. On standard washing machines, there is a trey to insert the detergent on the top left-hand corner. Read the label of your detergent to find out how much you need but most call for about 1-2 tablespoons of detergent.

For the light and dark piles set the turning knob to “normal” and “warm water” then press start. For the delicate pile, it is a little different, set the turning knob to “delicate” on “cold water” then press start. Then set a timer for however long the machine says it will take to wash, normally around 50 minutes. 

Once the machine says that the washing process is done the next step is to transfer the clothes to the dryer. When all of the clothes are in the dryer check for lint. In most dryers there is a lint shield on the edge of the giant circle. Clean out all the lint that was collected from previous washes to ensure lint does not collect on your new clothes. Next close the drawer and again for the light and dark clothing piles turn the knob to “normal” and press start. For the delicates turn the knob to “delicate” and then press start. Once again set you time to the listed amount of time it will take for the clothing to dry.

When the timer goes off on the dryer open the drying door. Remove all of the clothes from the machine, check that all of the clothes are completely dry, they should be hot. If some clothes are still a bit damp hang them up to dry completely. For the dry clothes immediately hang up or fold the clothes to ensure the clothes do not wrinkle. Clothes will wrinkle are left in the drying machine once it is done for long periods of time. Lastly get excited that you have newly washed clothes in your closet!

*note that if you are washing towels turn the knob to “heavy duty” and “hot water” when in the washing machine. Same with the dryer, set the knob to “heavy duty”

-Lilly G.