Monday, November 20, 2017

Embroidered Swirly Christmas Tree

A Free Embroidery Tutorial


Sometimes creativity needs a kick start or a reboot. That is what embroidery is for me. I love the colors and the motion of sewing in and out of the fabric. It is an art that makes you go slow and think through the creative process. If I am drawing blanks when it comes to crocheting or embroidery I always turn to embroidery. It is just a slightly different medium to give my brain a rest and think on different things.

I made a few of these last year during my Christmas break. It was to late in the season to blog about them, so I have been holding on to them until now to share them with you. These trees were a fun way to express my creativity. There was no right or wrong, I just let the curls make their own rules.

Tutorial 

To start I marked my fabric where I wanted to add the buttons. I made a long triangle and then I staggered where I would put the buttons on the tree.


After that I rough sketched where the swirls would go. (It might be better to put the buttons on first then add the sketch of swirls). 

I put the fabric in the hoop and stretched it tight and added the buttons using 3 strands the silver thread. I made 6 long stitches through the button holes and then put 2 stitches over each of the 6 long stitches.

I picked 6 to 7 colors and just went to town with the stem stitch all around the tree. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. I tried to work it so that one color never touched itself, and that the swirls went across the whole tree at some points.


The point is to have fun and to just let the stitches speak for themselves.

As you go along you can go back to the empty spaces and fill them in with other colors.


What colors would you make your trees?



What do you like to do to express your creativity? I'd love to know in the comments. 

 More Embroidery Projects You Will Love:

Finding Inspiration in Nature

Embroidery Bookmark



Monday, November 13, 2017

Crochet and Knit Christmas Tags

A Free Crochet and Knitting Pattern



I love wrapping presents. It's one of my favorite things to do around the holidays. There is just something about folding the paper and finding creative ideas to make them look festive and beautiful at the same time. There are a lot of options for these.


I have a knit and crochet version for whatever craft you prefer. You can design the tag however you like. You could choose different holiday shapes like me, or you could embroider the monogram of the person you are giving the present to. Another idea would be to number them for an advent present calendar. Whatever you chose they will last for as long as you want them and they will add a personal touch to any gift.

Where can I get this pattern?

These are free patterns. Just keep scrolling down to find these patterns. These are also available for a free PDF download through my Ravelry Store. It's my way of saying Merry Christmas to you. Be sure to check out my other patterns in the shop if you like what you see.
 <------------>download now<------------>


Crochet Pattern


Yarn: worsted cotton yarn
Hook: H/8 5mm
Notions: tapestry needle, embroidery thread
Size: 4 by 3 inches
Gauge: 13 sc and 14 rows
Copyright:
Julia Schwartz. Do not reproduce, copy, distribute, or sell this pattern without permission of the designer. This pattern must not be translated, reproduced, or circulated in another language without prior consent. If you have questions about this pattern please contact Julia.diligence@gmail.com.

Instructions

Row 1: Ch 9, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each ch across. (8 sc)
Row 2: Ch 1, turn, sc in each sc. (8 sc)
Row 3- 9: Repeat row 2. (8 sc)
Row 10: Ch 1, turn, sc2tog, sc in the next 4 sc, sc2tog. (6 st)
Row 11: Ch 1, turn, sc2tog, sc in the next 2 sc, sc2tog. (4 st)
Row 12: Ch 1, turn sc in each st. (4 st)
Edging: Ch 1, sc in each stitch around, ch 1 at every corner.

Finish off
Weave in your ends.

For embroidery, use all 6 strands of cotton floss to add a simple design to your tags.

Optional Grommet:  Follow the instructions on the package to insert the grommet in between the stitches of rows 7 and 9.

Knitting Pattern


Yarn: Worsted cotton yarn
Needles: 4.5 mm (U.S. 7)
Notions: tapestry needle, embroidery thread
Size: 4 by 3 inches
Gauge: 20 sts and 26 rows 
Notes: I tried to make his pattern as beginner friendly as possible. so if you like to keep your edges extra crisp and flat with a beg. sl st and end with a purl Go For It.
Copyright:
Julia Schwartz. Do not reproduce, copy, distribute, or sell this pattern without permission of the designer. This pattern must not be translated, reproduced, or circulated in another language without prior consent. If you have questions about this pattern please contact Julia.diligence@gmail.com.

Instructions

Cast on 12 st. 
Row 1: p 12
Row 2: k 12
Row 3- 14: repeat rows 1 and 2
Row 15: p 12
Row 16: k 1, k2tog through back loop, k 6, k2tog, k 1
Row 17: p 10
Row 18: k 1, k2tog through the back loop, k 4, k2tog, k 1
Row 19: p 8
Row 20: bind off

Finish off
Weave in your ends.

For embroidery, use all 6 strands of cotton floss to add a simple design to your tags.

Optional Grommet:  Follow the instructions on the package to insert the grommet in between the stitches of rows 14 and 16.


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More Patterns You Will Love:


Crochet Poinsettia Jar Cozy

Knit Basket Full of Posies

Monday, November 6, 2017

Poinsettia Jar Cozy

 A Free Crochet Pattern




This is the last pattern that I am moving over from Crochetvolution.  I'm a little sad to be done. Crochetvolution and the Editor Melissa Mall were such an integral part of me becoming the designer and blogger I am today. I will always be thankful for the boost of confidence that I got from being a published designer in those beginning days, before I even had a website in place.

The Poinsettia Jar Cozy is made beautiful by painting it after it's made. If you have seen my Sunflower Project then you already know I like to paint on my projects. For this one I used my water color pencils, so maybe I shouldn't call it painting but coloring. Water color pencils are great for beginners to play with I think they give you more control over what you are doing.  If you are going to get your project damp to block it why not color on it a little.

I should also note that this pattern inspired another Christmas pattern that you can find Here. The Poinsettia Christmas Ornament is my most popular pattern on Pinterest for obvious reasons.



Where Can I Get This Pattern

This is a free Pattern on the blog. Keep scrolling down to see this pattern. If you would like an ads free printer friendly version you can purchase one through my Ravelry Store for $3.00.
<----------->buy now<---------->

If you like this pattern and you would like to continue to see more patterns like this subscribe to designs by diligence. Follow the steps and you will get an e-mail any time there is a new post on the blog.

You can also keep up with me through my social media.





Poinsettia Jar Cozy

Designer: Julia Schwartz
Difficulty: Intermediate
Yarn: Aunt Lydia’s Classic Crochet (Size 10); [100% Cotton, 400 yds/336m per ball] less than 1 ball.
Hook: Size 6 steel hook

Notions:
  • Water
  • Water color pencils
  • Wax paper
  • Jar
Size: One Size
Finished Measurements: 4.5 x 5 inches (folded over)
Gauge: 8 sts/8 rows = 1″ in sc

Directions:
Rnd 1: Ch 5; sl st in beginning ch to form a loop. Ch 1, make 12 sc in loop, sl st in first sc. (12 sc)

Rnd 2: Ch 3 (counts as dc here and throughout), (dc, ch 3 (also counts at a dc here and throughout this row) sl st) in same st. {Sl st in next 2 sts, (ch 3, dc, ch 3, sl st) in same st.}  Repeat  {to} 4 more times. Sl st in next 2 sp and up the first dc. (6 groups of 3 dc)

Rnd 3: Ch 3; dc in same sp, make 2 dc in each of the next 2 st, ch 1, {Make 2 dc in each of  the next 3 st, ch 1.}  Repeat  {to} 5 more times, sl st into beginning dc. (6 – 6 dc groups)

Rnd 4: Ch 2, dc in next st (decrease just made). Dc in next 2 sts, dc2tog in next 2 st. Ch 1, dc in ch-1 sp, ch 1. {Dc2tog, dc in the next 2 st, dc2tog, ch 1, dc in ch-sp, ch 1}. Repeat  {to}  4 more times, sl st into beginning dc. (6 leaves and 6 dc)

Rnd 5: Ch 2, dc in next st (decrease just made). Ddc2tog in next st, ch 2, 3 dc in next dc, ch 2. {Make 2 dc2tog in the next 4 st, ch 2, make 3 dc in the next dc, ch 2.} Repeat {to} 4 more times, sl st into beginning dc. (6 groups of 4 and 6 groups of 3 dc)

Rnd 6: Ch 2, dc in next st (decrease just made). Ch 3, 2 dc in each of the next 3 dc, ch 3. {Dc2tog, ch 3, make 2 dc in each of the next 3 dc, ch 3}. Repeat  {to} 4 more times, sl st into beginning dc. (6 groups of 2 and 6 groups of 6 dc)

Rnd 7: Ch 5 (counts as dc, ch 2); sc in next sp, ch 2. Dc2tog, dc in next 2 dc, dc2tog, ch 2, sc in next sp, ch 2. {Dc in dc2tog, ch 2, sc in next sp, ch 2, dc2tog, dc in next 2 st, dc2tog, ch 2, sc in sp, ch 2.}  Repeat {to} 4 more times, sl st in beg dc.


Rnd 8: Sl st into sp, ch 1. {(Sc in sp, ch 3) twice, (dc2tog in dc) twice, (ch 3, sc in next sp) 2 times, ch 3} Repeat {to} 5 more times,  sl st into beginning st.

Rnd 8: Sl st into sp, ch 1. {(Sc in sp, ch 3) twice, dc2tog in dc, (ch 3, sc in next sp) 3 times, ch 3} Repeat {to} 5 more times,   sc, ch 3, sl st into beginning st.


Finish off. Weave in ends.

For band:

Row 1: Insert hook at any dc2tog. Sl st, ch 1, sc in same st, (Ch 3, sc in next sp) 6 times.

Row 2: Ch 1, turn. Sc in sc, sc in 3 ch-sp. (Ch 3, sc in next sp) 5 times, sc in last st.

Row 3: Ch 1, turn. Sc in sc, ch 3, sc in next sp. (Ch 3, sc in next sp) 4 times, ch 3, sc in next st.

Rows 4-23: Repeat rows 2 and 3.

Row 24: Ch 1, turn, grab opposite end of poinsettia and sc in both Row 23 and dc2tog. (Ch 3, sc in next sp of poinsettia, ch 3, sc in next sp of Row 23.) Repeat till you come to the next dc2tog; sc.  

Finish off.
Weave in your ends.

Finishing: To paint your flower, get your jar cover damp. Put wax paper between the poinsettia and the band. Using watercolor pencils, color your Poinsettia, using the pictures as your guide. With a damp cloth carefully rub in the colors to blend it all together; set it out to dry.

More Crochet Patterns You Will Love:

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Newsletter for November 2017



How was Halloween for you this year? Did you go trick-or-treating with your littles or did you pass out candy? We live in a basement apartment so even if we wanted to pass out candy I don't think anyone would find us. We took the girls trick-or-treating around our neighborhood. They had so much fun!

In Toronto they like to give out snack size potato chip bags. We usually get a whole grocery sack full of those and we put them in Little One's school lunch for the next month. We also enforce a parent tax on the candy, haha. If I'm going to spend all this time on costumes I'm going to get something for it. It's a family effort for sure, getting the candy and then eating it. We will work through it all until Easter when we will get a new batch of candy that we will work on until next Halloween.

What Happened This month


October was an exciting month for the blog. I know page views are not everything, but I broke a record and got over 20,000! My last record was in June, with 18,500. Thank You for taking the time to visit my little space. It means so much to me.

In October there were three main posts:


Social Media and Revenue Growth


In social media I have been working at growing the reach of my Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts.

My facebook page has been gaining steadily by a rate of 1 person a day. I have been working at having new content added daily with news and articles about fiber art. I have also been doing a #freefridayfinds on Friday where I post my favorite free finds of the week. I usually have one pattern each for: knitting, crochet, and embroidery. Then I also try and find one kids craft or sewing project.

I have not been as active on Instagram, but I'm still gaining new followers. I'm really struggling with figuring out the Instagram stories. If any of you have any good tips, please let me know. I'm so lost.

I had some trouble with Pinterest this month acknowledging my website after I changed domain names, but that seems to have figured itself out. I am 2 followers short of 300. If you want to help push me over that would be fantastic. I try and pin new things every day. I pin a lot of crafty things, recipes and things to do with my kids.

For Revenue I made almost exactly what I made last month. Almost all of it was passive income. I count it as passive if it is a pattern sale of a pattern older than 3 months and ads through google adsense.

What's Coming Up on the Blog 



In preparation for the Christmas Holiday Season I am:

  • Moving over the last pattern from Crochetvolution. 
  • Updating the Christmas Poinsettia pattern to include a PDF download. 
  • Publishing a new knit-and-crochet pattern to help you with gift wrapping
  • Teaching you how to do couching on top of crochet. "I have no idea what couching is," you say? You will have to stick around to find out.


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As a thank you for reading all the way through and for the great month. I'm giving away a promo code for a free pattern in My Ravelry Store. This promo code will be good until the end of the month. It is good for a one time use on one pattern of your choice. Type in the Promo Code 20,000THANKYOU into the promo section and the discount will show up in the check out.  


Monday, October 23, 2017

Easy Yarn Unicorn Hair


A Free Tutorial For Unicorn Hair


The older Little One gets the more I need to get creative with Halloween. She is getting more ideas about what she wants and what is considered cool. Is cool even the right word anymore? We decided on her being a unicorn; not too baby but still sweet. Right away Sweet Pea insisted that she would be a princess, and she is telling everyone that Mommy is going to make her a princess. She gets very defensive if we suggest anything else. 2 year olds are so easy.  Hopefully this tutorial will be easier than figuring out the workings of preteens. 

Tutorial 

Start with a long tail slip knot, ch 12, cut your yarn for a long tail and pull tight.
Loop in scraps of yarn into the chains until the section is full. 
Repeat this process 5 or 6 times. For the top piece add scraps on both sides of the chains. 


Sew in the strips of hair using the long tails of the chain stitches, and wip stitch it down to the hat so the hair falls at the base of the hat. Weave in any left over yarn.


Repeat the process above, a few rows over the last strip of hair.  


Keep going all the way up until you reach the ears.


On the last strip, make sure you have hair going in both directions for bangs and back mane hair.


I hope you found inspiration in this tutorial. If you wan to keep updated on future projects 
and free patterns please Subscribe to Designs by Diligence
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More Tutorials You Will Love

How to correct a button hole

Bullion Butterfly

Monday, October 16, 2017

Swift Swirl Cowl

A knitting Pattern


I have a new pattern to add to the Swift Swirl Series. The last 2 patterns, the Swift Swirl Hat and the Swift Chevron Hat were worked in the round. For this pattern it is worked flat so some of the rules change a little. It is still an easy to follow along pattern and I was able to finish this cowl up in a weekend.

 I was so excited to be working on this cowl. I always have a lot of fun with yarns that change colors, they make me keep going because I want to see how the next color will look. The yarn is Lion Brand: Amazing and the color is Cosmos. This is some yarn that my Granny had bought before she passed away. I don't know what she had planned for it, but it makes me feel close to her as I wear my new cowl.  


Another great thing about this yarn is that I only needed 1 skein to finish off this cowl. Towards the end I felt like I was playing yarn chicken but there was enough to make a seamless finish. So be warned you might want to pick up 2 just in case. 

I am pretty sure this is going to be a fall staple in my wardrobe this year.  I'm wearing it right now as I type. 


 Where can I get this Pattern ?

 This is a free knitting pattern. Just keep scrolling down to see this pattern. You can also purchase this pattern in my Ravelry store for $3.00. This is a great option if you want an ads free printer friendly version of the pattern. Start at m Ravelry Page Of click the Buy Me link below.  
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Swift Swirl Cowl

Designer: Julia Schwartz 

Yarn: Lion Brand: Amazing, 53% Wool, 47% Acrylic, 1 ball color: cosmos 147 yrds. 
 I used all of the ball and came close to the finish, so you might want 2 just in case. 

Needle size 9: 5.5mm straight 

Notions: Yarn Needle to weave in your ends 

Size: 8 by 30in. 

Gauge: 12-16 stitches, 15-22 rows to 4"

Special Stitches: 
Right Twist (RT): Knit 2 together keeping both stitches on the left needle, knit into the first stitch, then pull both stitches onto the right needle, stitch complete. 

Notes: This pattern is worked flat and them is Kitchener stitched at the end. 

Copyright: Julia Schwartz. Do not reproduce, copy, distribute, or sell this pattern without permission of the designer. This pattern must not be translated, reproduced, or circulated in another language without prior consent. If you have questions about this pattern please contact Julia.diligence@gmail.com.

Pattern: 
With a provisional cast on, cast on 36 sts

Row 1 (ws): (p,k) repeat 2 times for long seed st, p 24, (k,p) repeat 2 times for long seed st.

Row 2 (rs): ( k, p) repeat 2 times, k2, 3 RT, k4, 3 RT, k4, 1 RT, (p,k) repeat 2 times.

Row 3: (k,p) repeat 2 times, p 24, (p,k) repeat 2 times

Row 4: ( p, k) repeat 2 times, k1, 3 RT, k4, 3 RT, k4, 1 RT, k1, (k, p) repeat 2 times

Repeat rows 1 and 3 for every wrong side row. 

Row 6: ( k, p) repeat 2 times, 3 RT, k4, 3 RT, k4, 2 RT, (p, k) repeat 2 times

Row 8: ( p, k) repeat 2 times, k1, 2 RT, k4, 3RT, k4, 2 RT, k1, (k, p) repeat 2 times

Row 10: ( k, p) repeat 2 times, 2 RT, k4, 3 RT, K4, 3 RT, (p,k) repeat 2 times

Row 12: ( p, k) repeat 2 times, k1, 1 RT, k4, 3 RT, K4, 3RT, K1, (k, p) repeat 2 times

Row 14: ( k, p) repeat 2 times, 1 RT, K4, 3 RT, K4, 3 RT, k2, (p,k) repeat 2 times

Row 16: ( p, k) repeat 2 times, k5, 3 RT, K4, 3 RT, k3, (k, p) repeat 2 times

Row 18: ( k, p) repeat 2 times, k4, 3 RT, k4, 3 RT, K4, (p,k) repeat 2 times

Row 20: ( p, k) repeat 2 times, k3, 3 RT, k4, 3 RT, k5, (k, p) repeat 2 times

Repeat rows 1 – 20 6 times. 
Put provisional cast on back on the needle and cast off with the Kitchener stitch. Weave in your ends and lightly block.





More Knitting Patterns You Will Love


Learner's Curve Clutch 

Baby Helix Hat 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

business card holder

A Free Crochet Pattern



I recently created new business cards for myself. The last time I made cards was 5 years ago. A lot has happened in 5 years and a lot of my information was no longer relevant. And if I am being honest they looked awful. They were hard to read and they really did not match who I was. 

This time I really wanted to get it right. I spent 3 days designing them and getting them just right. I had a lot of help from some other bloggers in a couple of the blogging groups I am a part of on Facebook to really capture the look and design I was looking for in my new cards.  I'm sure my family and friends got tired of all the Facebook posts about them. I am really pleased with them and I won't be embarrassed passing these out.   

Do you still use business cards? I feel like they are still relevant for today, especially for makers and for those that need to network outside of the internet. They are easy to add to any packages that you send out, and they are easy to have on hand to give to people who ask about you and your business.  

On the website that I printed them from, they asked if I wanted to purchase a business card holder to go with my cards. That got my design juices flowing, and I decided to make one myself instead of pay for one. 

This holder is full of color and texture, two of my favorite things. This pattern is worked all in one piece so there is no seeming. You can keep it all one color if you chose or you can go crazy like I did, and make it really pop. The finished holder holds about 10 cards, and it is perfect for keeping in your wallet or purse. 



Yarn: 4 colors of Size 10 crochet thread. For the flower I used an omber shade.
Hook: size 4 steel hook.
Notions: tapestry needle 
Size: 4 in. by 2.5 in.
Gauge: 12 dc equals 2 inches 4 rows equals 2 inches

Copyright: Julia Schwartz. Do not reproduce, copy, distribute, or sell this pattern without permission of the designer. This pattern must not be translated, reproduced, or circulated in another language without prior consent. If you have questions about this pattern please contact Julia.diligence@gmail.com.

Where You Can Get the Pattern: 
This is a free pattern keep scrolling to see the pattern. If you would like a printer friendly, ads free pattern that you can down load you can through my Ravelry Store.
<------------>buy now<--------------->

Pattern Instructions

Holder Flap

Round 1:With color a, Start with a sl knot, ch 4, 11 dc in the 4th ch from hook, sl st into the starting ch 3 (12 dc).

Round 2: Working in the back loops only, 2 sc in 12 dc, sl st into starting sc. (24 sc)

Round 3:Switching to color B,  Ch 1, {sc in the next 2 sc, long sc in the front loop of row 1} Repeat {to} 11 times, sl st into starting sc. (24 sc, 12 long sc)

Round 4: Sl st into next sc and long sc, ch 1, {sc in long sc, 5 fpdc in the next long sc} repeat {to} 5 times, sl st into the starting sc. (6 sc, 6 fpdc petals)

Round 5: Ch 1, sc in fist empty sc in row 3, ch 2, sk 2 sc, {sc in next sc, ch 2, sk 2 sc} repeat {to} 10 times, sl st into starting sc. (12 sc, 12 2 ch spaces).

Round 6: Sl st into first ch sp, ch 1, {sc in ch sp, ch 3} Repeat {to} 11 times, sl st into starting sc. (12 sc, 12 ch 3 sps)

Round 7: Switch to color C,  Sl st into first ch sp, ch 1, {sc in ch sp, 7 dc in next ch 3 sp},  repeat {to} 11 times. (6 sc, 6 petals)

do not break string. 

Holder Body


Row 8: Switch to color D, carry color C under your working thread, Sl st into next st, ch 4 (counts as dc ch 1), sk 1 dc, dc in next st, {ch 1, (sk 1 st, sc in next st) twice, (ch 1, sk 1 st, dc in next st) 2 times}repeat {to} once. (6 dc, 4 sc, 9 ch 1 sps)

Row 9: Switch to color C, carry color D under your working thread,  Ch 1 turn, sc in each st and ch sp. (19 sc)

Row 10:  Switch to color D, carry color C under your working thread, Ch 3, turn, dc in each st. (19 dc)

Row 11: Switch to color C, carry color D under your working thread, Ch 1, turn, sc in each st. (19 sc)

repeat rows 10 and 11, until row 30

Break string. Weave in your Ends.

Assembling the Holder


Fold the holder body in half, starting at a corner, sc through both layers of fabric, sc evenly across up the side of the bag, at corner ch 1, sc in each dc of last row, ch 1, sc through both layers of fabric back down the other side of the bag.Finish off. Weave in your ends.


More Crochet Patterns You Will Love:

Poinsettia Christmas Ornament

Copycat Striped Bag


Monday, October 2, 2017

Newsletter October 2017


 I have been throwing around some ideas about how I want to keep my reader's informed. I have thought about changing my subscription service so I can send out more personalized email's, and newsletters. I have also been thinking about making monthly reports to keep a record of my gains and struggles.

I'm not sure if I am ready to change the subscription service yet, and I didn't see why I couldn't just make a newsletter in a blog post those of you who get an email every time I post something new will see it and new comers will find it also.

Patterns

September was a great month. I published 3 patterns.


A new knitting pattern: The Baby Helix Hat 


A new crochet pattern: In a Flash Mitered Corners Blanket


An older crochet pattern: The Painted Sunflower.




I also shared with you some Fall Stock Photos

Social Media Gains

 

My biggest gain this month would be Instagram. I grew to just under 300 followers. 6 months ago I didn't even have a account so I find this really great.
I also gained new followers for Pinterest. 
I finally broke 100 likes and follows on my Facebook page. I worked the hardest on this platform this month and it paid off. 

Income

With the income I made this month I was able to pay for our internet bill. I also paid for my domain name. I'm sure you didn't even notice the switch, which is how it should be. I've always said my goal for the blog is to make enough money from it to cover the grocery bill. I have all the confidence to get there.

What's coming up

 For October I am gearing up for the Christmas Season. I am re-opening up my Etsy Shop. I hope for have some finished objects (like my embroidery necklaces) in the shop by the end of the month. I have one pattern lined up at the moment for October. I have other patterns on the queue for later months. I am even in the planing stages of a CAL that I am hoping to have ready for January.