Crochet Cozy Afghans, One Square at a Time

Crochet Cozy Afghans, One Square at a Time
Crochet Cozy Afghans, One Square at a Time

Crocheted squares are like building blocks. You can turn them into just about anything. Whether you’d like to make an afghan, or you have a different project in mind, there are bunches of excellent patterns you can use to make your idea a reality.

Free Crochet Patterns for Afghan Squares:

Free Granny Square Tutorial

Need instructions for how to crochet a granny square? This granny square tutorial shows you how to do it, step by step, for free.

Find Even More Outstanding Crochet Square Patterns in Pattern Books You Can Buy:

I’m aware of several truly excellent books featuring patterns for blankets and afghans you can create simply by making squares and joining them. If you enjoy working from pattern books, these are some options you’ll definitely want to consider taking a look at:

Crochet Kaleidoscope — This is my favorite book featuring crochet square patterns and other motif patterns. The book features bunches of excellent options for granny squares you can crochet — plus circles, hexagons, triangles and other shapes, too. There are also several patterns for finished projects, including one absolutely stunning blanket pattern.

Crochet Granny Squares is another one of my all-time favorite crochet pattern books. This book has some gorgeous patterns in it, including granny squares, blankets and bunches of other project types.

Unexpected Afghans — This book is a real treasure. It is exclusively dedicated to the topic of crochet afghan patterns. Many, but not all, of the patterns in this book are for granny squares you can join to create your blanket. This book is my top pick for the best crochet blanket pattern books.

I hope these resources will be helpful to you if you want to crochet an afghan using squares. Happy crocheting!

Fond Memories of Fabric Collage

I have fond memories of fabric collage, because it was the first type of collage that I remember making as a child. I really wish I had been able to hold onto onto some of my earliest fabric collages; I remember them being quite colorful and creative, and I’d love to take another look at them.

The problem was that I did not use quality adhesive, or appropriate surfaces for creating the collage backgrounds. In most cases, I used either construction paper or white ruled notebook paper, plus ordinary glue. Even at the time, the collages turned out a bit lumpy and imperfect. But in the long run, they did not stand the test of time, and we parted with them long ago.

If you ever make your own fabric collages, I’m hoping you can learn from these mistakes, and avoid them.

Want to learn more about collage? If so, I invite you to check out our pages on the topic of making collage art:

Happy crafting!

A Free Baby Beanie Pattern to Crochet Using the Back Loops

DIY Baby Beanie Free Crochet Pattern
You can crochet this easy baby beanie by working through the back loops of your stitches. This technique creates the interesting ribbed texture you see in the picture. Click here to get the free crochet baby hat pattern at

Correctly-formed crochet stitches all have components known as “loops”. There are front loops, and there are back loops. You can crochet into these loops in different patterns, a process that can be really interesting to experiment with.

Back loop single crochet stitch is one of the easiest examples of a stitch you can crochet using the back loops. There are many other stitches you can create as well.

If you’d like to learn how to do the back loop single crochet stitch, or try an easy project using this stitch, I recommend this easy ribbed crochet baby beanie pattern for beginners. It’s a quick project that will get you plenty of practice at crocheting through the back loops — plus you’ll end up with a useful project that you can give as a baby shower gift or keep for a little one in your own family.

How to Save Money on Greeting Cards

How to Stamp Greeting Card Sentiments

It’s possible to save money on your greeting cards by making them yourself. However, if you want to save more money than you spend, you almost certainly have to work out a system for getting the most out of each dollar that you spend on your supplies.

If you aren’t careful, it’s likely that you will spend more on greeting card supplies than you would have spent on buying a box of cards.

One trick to saving money is scale. You need to focus on buying supplies that will work for zillions of different cards — then working out a system for actually using the supplies, making the cards, and making enough of them that it works out to a savings.

I’ve got this down to a science, and I’m working on posting bunches of articles that will reveal these secrets to you — so that you, too, can actually save more than you spend (if you choose to apply these principles.)

For me, rubber stamps are an important part of the save-more-than-you-spend process. So one of the first installments in this series is an article about how to get the most out of your sentiment stamps.

If you’ve spent a bundle on stamps you never use, and you have “stash guilt,” but no finished cards to show for it, you definitely need to check this out. It could help you turn things around and get inspired to get out those stamps and get creating.

This is also a great article for new crafters who are interested in getting started with card-making.

Learn how to stamp greeting card sentiments.

Ideas for Crocheting With Fabric Strips
Rag Crochet

You’ve probably seen rag rugs crocheted with fabric strips, but did you realize that you can crochet bunches of different projects with fabric instead of yarn? While rugs are ideally suited for making with this technique, there are infinite possibilities for other items that you might want to try making as well. I’ve tried crocheting rugs, tote bags, hot pads, and jewelry, but that doesn’t even begin to cover all the different possible ideas for things you could make.

This technique is often referred to as either “fabric crochet” or “rag crochet.” If you already know how to crochet, you’d use the same basic stitches you already know how to do, but with a few differences.

The most noteworthy difference I have so far encountered: usually, you would have to design and create your own rag balls before you can proceed with crocheting. (Or maybe, if you’re lucky, you could find rag balls available to buy from Etsy or similar “artsy-craftsy” online shops.)

Want to learn more? If so, you might enjoy looking at the following pages online:

Who Wants to Knit a Cute Dog Themed Sweater, Baby Blanket or Other Project?

Dogs on Sweaters book by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne, published by Trafalgar Square Books
If you want to knit a cute dog themed sweater or other project, check out this Dogs on Sweaters book by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne. Trafalgar Square Books is the publisher of this title.

Do you have a favorite dog breed? Many people do. My mother-in-law loves all dogs, but she definitely has a thing for cute pugs. So does my daughter; she’s never had a pug, but she loves watching Puppy Dog Pals on the Disney Junior channel.

If there’s a particular dog breed you love enough to want to knit a project depicting that breed, there’s a brand new knitting pattern book I think you’re going to be really excited about. It’s called Dogs on Sweaters: Knitting Patterns for 18 Different Breeds. The book includes charts for knitting all 18 of these different breeds — and you get multiple patterns for some of the breeds, because there are projects in different sizes for both children and adults.

Some of the projects in the book are customizable; you can choose the silhouette you want to knit, choose the dog breed you want to put on the project and make several other additional design choices (like the style of ribbing you want to use, the color combination and whether or not you want to include names, initials or a slogan on your project).

One of the wonderful things about this book is that it includes designs suitable for men, boys and children. The guys and the “big kids” are sometimes neglected in craft pattern books — but here you’ll find choices suitable for almost every dog lover on your knitting gift list.

Baby projects are also well represented in the book. If you knit baby shower gifts, I think you’ll definitely want to take a look at Dogs on Sweaters. And there are projects suitable for ladies, too.

Want more information about this book? You can click here to shop for it at Amazon, or click here to read my detailed book review at

More Stylish Knitting Pattern Books

Free Mother’s Day Craft Ideas

Mother’s Day is approaching. We’ll be celebrating Mom’s special holiday on Sunday, May 12, 2019. Do you want to make a card or a gift for your mom, stepmom, grandma or other beloved mother-figure this year? If so, here are a couple of pages filled with free ideas, patterns and instructions you can use.

2 New Slouchy Hat Pattern Books You Need to Know About

If you’d like to knit or crochet a trendy new hat for yourself or a friend, there are 2 excellent new slouchy hat pattern books you need to know about:

Crocheted Beanies & Slouchy Hats by Julie King

Crocheted Beanies and Slouchy Hats book by Julie King, published by Stackpole Books
Crocheted Beanies and Slouchy Hats book by Julie King, published by Stackpole Books

If you want to crochet a slouchy beanie-style hat or a slouchy beret, this book has bunches of fabulous patterns you’ll want to take a look at. The book also features one pattern for an earflap beanie, plus bunches of patterns for traditional, fitted beanies.

These patterns will give you a broad variety of different hat styles to add to your wardrobe. The majority of these hats are casual styles that would be fun to wear with jeans, khakis or your favorite athleisure gear.

There are also some dressier styles, like the lacy beret pictured on the front cover of the book. I could see dressing that hat either up or down — perhaps wearing it with lovely, drapey dresses or a frilly blouse paired with a ladylike skirt. Some of the hat designs feature button details — and, if you like dressing up, I think you could make those particular hat styles look dressier simply by choosing fancy, elegant buttons to use for your accents.

Whatever your personal style is like, if it includes crocheted hats, you’re sure to find some suitable styles included in this book.

Click here to check out my book review of Crocheted Beanies & Slouchy Hats by Julie King; click here if you want to shop for the book at Knitpicks; or click here if you want to shop for the book at Amazon.

Knockout Knit Hats and Hoods by Diane Serviss

Knockout Knit Hats and Hoods book by Diane Serviss, published by Stackpole Books
Knockout Knit Hats and Hoods book by Diane Serviss, published by Stackpole Books

This book has its fair share of slouchy hat patterns including patterns for knitting slouchy berets and slouchy beanies. The book also features patterns for traditional tams, fitted beanies and fanciful hoods. I love the variety of stylish hats in this book, and I think you will be quite enchanted by it, too.

Some of these hats feature intricate cable designs. Some of them are lacy and feminine. Some of them feature interesting texture patterns. There’s a mix of casual and dressy looks, although the majority of these patterns lean towards the casual side.

Want more details? Click here to check out my book review of Knockout Knit Hats and Hoods by Diane Serviss; click here if you want to shop for the book at Knitpicks; or click here if you want to shop for the book at Amazon.

Related Resources

2018 Etsy Holiday Gift Guide for Craft Enthusiasts

Are you wondering what kind of Christmas gift to get for the crafters on your gift list? Or perhaps you’re a crafter yourself, and you’re working on making gifts for your inner circle. Either way, I invite you to check out this Etsy holiday gift guide for craft enthusiasts. The following items are ones you’ll definitely want to know about:

Czech Glass Buttons Make Spectacular Christmas Gifts for Crafters!
Czech Glass Buttons Make Spectacular Christmas Gifts for Crafters!

Czech Glass Buttons

If the crafter on your gift list is drawn to pretty, shiny baubles, consider giving Czech glass buttons as a gift. This is a gift that might appeal to crafters who work in a variety of media — anyone who sews, quilts, knits, crochets or does mixed media art can usually find good uses for buttons.

Be aware that some sellers sell single buttons. If you’re gifting Czech glass buttons to a crafter who makes garments, it’s ideal to find a matching set of multiple buttons — enough to button up a quilted jacket, knitted cardigan sweater or similar project.

You can buy one-of-a-kind dichroic glass pendants similar to this one on Etsy. Independent artists -- like those who sell on Etsy -- are the best sources I know of for buying these pendants. Here you can see the finished necklace I made using a dichro glass pendant I bought online from an independent artist.
You can buy one-of-a-kind dichroic glass pendants similar to this one on Etsy. Independent artists — like those who sell on Etsy — are the best sources I know of for buying these pendants. Here you can see the finished necklace I made using a dichro glass pendant I bought online from an independent artist.

Dichroic Glass Pendants

Does your gift recipient enjoy making unique, one-of-a-kind jewelry, bead knitting or bead crochet projects? And does her sense of style include lots of sparkly, eye-catching details? If you need to find a truly impressive gift for a jewelry making enthusiast, a dichroic glass pendant might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Fiskars Hand Punch With Inks and Paper Craft Project
Fiskars Hand Punch With Inks and Paper Craft Project

Fiskars Punches

Fiskars makes a variety of delightful paper punches available. If you’re shopping for a paper crafter who makes greeting cards, invitations, scrapbook pages, collages or mixed media art, any of these punches could make a useful gift.

Thickers Alphabet Stickers by American Crafts
Thickers Alphabet Stickers by American Crafts

Thickers Alphabet Stickers

Making Christmas cards? Giving a scrapbook album to a loved one as a gift? Shopping for someone who loves to make scrapbook pages, collages or cards? If so, you’ll want to load up on Thickers letter stickers by American Crafts. Thickers alphabet stickers come in an amazing variety of different materials and fonts, so you’re sure to find exactly the right styles for whatever purpose you have in mind.

Bazzill Cardstock

Bazzill is famous for making archival-quality, acid-free textured cardstock papers suitable for any paper craft project that is meant to last. If you’re giving a gift to a paper crafter who enjoys scrapbooking, collage, card making, altered book arts or mixed media arts, this is exactly the gift you want to choose.

Zip Dry Paper Glue

Zip Dry paper glue is a fantastic stocking stuffer type gift for anyone who enjoys paper crafts. It dries perfectly clear, so it’s great for beginning paper crafters who haven’t yet perfected the art of flawless glue application.

Gold Beads

If your gift recipient enjoys jewelry making, beadwork, bead knitting, bead crochet or bead embroidery, gold beads are a gift that’s sure to be appreciated. Look, in particular, for genuine 14 karat gold beads that will have lasting value.

Silver Beads

Silver beads are stylish yet timeless. They, too, make gifts that will have lasting value, particularly if you choose high quality sterling silver beads.

Cascade 220 Yarn
Cascade 220 Yarn

Cascade 220 Yarn

If your gift recipient likes to knit, crochet, weave or make pom pom crafts, you’ll want to consider putting Cascade 220 yarn at the top of your gift list. And if you’re making gifts to give to others, your loved ones are sure to appreciate any gifts you’ll make for them with this soft, sturdy, lovely yarn.

This is one of the most popular yarns ever, and there is a HUGE amount of pattern support available for the yarn. No matter what you want to make with it, you’re likely to find a pattern that’s exactly what you need. Not only that, Cascade 220’s color palette is pretty spectacular. You know how, with a lot of yarns, it can be tough to find the exact color you need? With Cascade 220, you will not have that problem.

Cascade 220 is worth its full retail price, in my opinion; however, Etsy sellers have posted a fantastic selection of this yarn — so you’re likely to find a great bargain on a color your gift recipient will adore. Click here to shop for Cascade 220 at Etsy.

These are my top picks for gifts crafting enthusiasts would be likely to LOVE — but the truth is, there are zillions more excellent possibilities. If you’re shopping for craft enthusiasts, Etsy is a fantastic place to load up on the craft supplies they’ll want to work with. It’s a great source for unique, interesting, one-of-a-kind craft supplies that can’t be found elsewhere.

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