Friday, December 1, 2023

My basic crochet edging and five free Christmas patterns!


Every year I share a new free Christmas pattern, but this year I decided to share a few of my favourites from years past. Today you'll be able to download the first pattern (a oldie that I get requests for all the time!), and over the following two weeks I'll have four more to gift you. Some are for decorating your home, and others are perfect for small gifts that can be posted, or simply popped inside a card for friends and neighbours. 

Back in 2017 I hosted a Christmas Wreath stitch-along, and as mentioned previously, it became one of my most requested patterns for this time of year ever since. I may even re-make it myself this year as a table centre, but originally it was made to be hung. 

The pattern is very detailed and a tutorial is included. Let me know if you're going to make it, and what colours or prints you will use. Will you hang it, or will it become a table centre or large candle mat instead? Perhaps you have a different idea for displaying The Christmas Wreath? Please share in the comments as you may inspire myself and others to try your suggestion. 

Use the link below to download the full Christmas Wreath pattern

DOWNLOAD The Christmas Wreath

Another request, but this has been a recent one, is how I make the crochet edgings on my tea towels. Many have emailed privately, as well as the comments on blog posts, and the common questions are do I begin with blanket stitch and what thread and yarn do I use. 

Yes, I do begin with blanket stitch, and I stitch it with a cross stitch needle. The thread I use for the blanket stitch is a 4 or 5 ply cotton yarn, or a Perle 5 embroidery thread. If I don't have the right colour in that size I might choose to use Perle 8 or two strands of Perle 12 if I already have the colour needed. 

Using just what is on hand or what I can find cheap at the op-shop, has kept expenses low. A few years back I bought a pack of six 5 ply cotton yarns in assorted colours, intending on using them for dishcloths, but never got around to using them all, and the ones I did use had loads leftover. These are what I initially used on the table runners and tea towels I began making in October.
Admittedly I did outlay a little bit of money on some balls of cotton baby yarn from Spotlight when they were half price, and they are lovely and soft to work with, but I am loving these balls of 4 ply crochet cotton which I found in a bag at the op-shop - $2 the lot! What was a blessed bargain! 

After I sew a row of blanket stitch I then crochet a row of double chain (single chain in the US)...

...and that gives me the foundation for whatever I want to crochet on the next row. Sometimes I do another row of double chain, but mostly I do a mix of double chain, skipping a stitch, and treble.

I'm no expert on crochet, and many of you will easily be able to create your own pretty borders, but I am quite content with what I've done and am giddy with joy at the new stack of tea towels which are ready to restock my kitchen towel drawer on January 1st. 
If you go HERE to my Pinterest crochet board there are some links to edging patterns. 

I purchased most of the tea towels at TK Maxx on the reduced rack for around $5-7 for three, and they're all fine quality cotton or linen, made in India or European countries. I prewash the towels so that they can shrink before I begin the crochet edging. There is nothing more embarrassing when gifting a tea towel than after the first wash it shrinks and the embellishments (applique, embroidery, crochet) are all distorted. 

Some extra towels have been gifted to family and friends, and as tea towels are always useful, they are happily received. I still have a few towels left to edge, but I shall take a little break from them now and get back to a project which has a lot of crochet edging to do - my Virtuous Wife quilt top! 

I have been holding off on quilting it because I wanted to be very sure about whether I'd bind it or crochet edge it instead. Crochet has won out, and as soon as I get started I shall share some progress pics. If you missed any of the free Virtuous Wife BOM blocks they are HERE to download.

It's been ghastly hot here for a while now, and even though summer's arrival is today in Australia, we've been feeling it since October. Our garden has suffered badly and even the pumpkins are not coping (they have never failed before). It's never cold in the tropics, not what most of you would call cold anyhow. Winter days are around 25C, and late spring/summer/early autumn can be anything from 35C to 42C - occasionally higher. The wet season is around us, but not over us this year, and that makes the heat so much worse to bear. I admit to feeling that the weather has taken a toll on me and the garden so  we'll have to heavily mulch most of it and just keep the fruit trees, banana trees and shade trees going until the weather cools next May. 

Pushing too hard at this stage of life is counter-productive, as my dear friend Rosie reminded me this week. When you're young (and in good health) you can almost move mountains, and I remember being that way right up into my 50's. But not now. I'll be 65 in February, and though I am no slacker, and love to keep our home running smoothly, neat and tidy, I must take heed of these very long hot summers we face every year, and the level of physical exhaustion they bring to people of all ages, but especially those of us on the older end of the spectrum. 

I shall 'walk the room' again soon and plan what needs to be done inside during the next four to five months...and I shall do some other things which have sparked some interest, and brought some fresh enthusiasm and ideas to mind. If you want to know what I mean by 'walk the room' go back to THIS blog post and have a read - you may consider joining in. 

Well, that's enough today. I have washing to get off the line and fold, a dinner to prepare, floors to vacuum and mop...and a lovely cold ice-cream calling my name! :-)

Bless you, each precious woman. May the weekend ahead open pockets of His joy in your heart, deep pockets of joy, so deep that they overflow into the lives of all who cross your path. 

God bless,

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Lin said...

Your wreath is lovely Jennifer and you really have got carried away with the crochet haven't you! Lots of water in the hot weather - the biggest plus point of the hot summers we had in France was that I lost weight without trying! Frosty and white here this morning so looking pretty through my windows. xx

Glapha said...

How do you keep the blanket stitch so even? I have problems with that. I would do the first embroidery but I am still embroidering the 23rd psalm that you gave a while ago!

Julie said...

Oh I think I would be giddy with joy at that stack of tea towels too dear Jennifer.💗 I think I need to sit down at YouTube next year & teach myself a simple crochet edging.
I am sorry to hear of the constant heat you are experiencing & hope the migraines aren't too bad. We are still slightly chilly here but are due a huge drought apparently. Thank you for the beautiful free patterns that you share with us my dear friend x0x0

Lorrie said...

What a lovely post, Jennifer. Your tea towel edging is lovely, so evenly done. I love stacks of linens - tea towels and tablecloths. I do hope you manage the heat well; it must really sap your energy.

Johanna said...

Hi Jennifer, Thanks you so much for sharing the instructions re the crochet edging.
Love seeing your work, I'm looking forward to trying this next year.
God Bless and take care,

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
Wow ! So much creativity !
What a great way to start Winter or Summer in December :)
One can dress for the cold but when it just gets tooo hot how does one cope ? Yes, even I can't handle our Summer weather the way I used to years ago. Adjust to the seasons and listen to your body and mind/spirit. Don't over do it.
Ice cream sounds great ! But I'll be enjoying hot cocoa :)
Hugs, take care,

Ondrea said...

I made that lovely Christmas stitchery years ago and it is displayed each year. Your crochet edgings are lovely . Unfortunately , there comes a time when most of us need to slow down and when we have health issues it comes sooner. The humidity up there wouldn't help much. Take care of yourself and thanks for another lovely post.

Tammy said...

Dearest Jennifer,
How beautiful ...I have fallen in love with your crocheted trims....Just so very feminine and beautiful.. I need to get me some more kitchen towels but I cannot crochet anymore my brain just doesn't cooperate with my hands these days....

Allie said...

Oh how lovely - I never did make that wreath, and now I'm kicking myself. My hands and eyes no longer cooperate with embroidery or hand stitching. LOVE the stack of crochet-trimmed linens, gorgeous! Praying for you in your hot weather, dear girl!

Annabel said...

Lovely tutorial Jennifer. I love crochet edges and they add to everything. I saw on Pinterest someone did a crochet edge on their kitchen cafe curtains. So beautiful! So many ideas!xxx

Cheryl B. said...

I have an entire Ikea bin full of dishtowels just waiting for embellishments. I have been meaning to do the crochet edges for some time along with either embroidery from my binder of your designs (former club member) and/or along with fabric.

My mother passed away 2+ years ago and I finally went through the bag of old linens and aprons and found a few pieces with a note "my mom's work" which would be my grandmother who passed away 9 years before I was born. She tatted the edges and this is one of the new skills I plan to schedule for 2024. If I don't get it I will fall back on the crochet. I have the supplies to learn tatting, its a matter of scheduling it in and I vow to do this in 2024!

Susan said...

Oh, yes, love the wreath. It's one of the things I made and finished and love still!

Linda said...

I shared your Virtuous Wife blocks- a couple of them to show what you have created in a Shepherds Chapel group I am in and one my husband and I made on FB and they love it.

You are an amazing soul and we thank you for sharing with us your designs and also your wonderful family.

May you and yours be protected and Blessed.

Linda (I receive your newsletter-Abby)

shirley flavell said...

Oh I love the crochet edged cloths, beautiful. Thank you for sharing.