Category Archives: Projects

Sew a Crochet Hook Holder Using a Place Mat

Published / by Lucy

I was finally ready to get organized to do some hooking….ummm, I mean crocheting. I picked up some new fancy yarns I had been coveting and decided I finally had time to experiment. With yarn in hand, I headed into my office to grab my hooks. I soon realized that was easier said than done. I was only able to immediately locate one hook and it wasn’t the one I needed. My organizational skills had become sorely lacking or non-existent in recent months. My office was a mess. It was very apparent my plan of action was about to take a different direction. The yarn had to wait.

I decided to start small by creating a crochet hook holder. I wanted a way to organize all my hook sizes and still be able to have a portable way to transport them when I am on the go. I love to sew, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on this project. I wanted it done so I could get on with my hooking.

Crafting with a place mat is a fun way to create a clever hook holder without spending a lot of time. A place mat already has finished edges, so it was just a matter of manipulating this item into something else. Discount and dollar stores have wonderful assortments to choose from and can even be picked up very inexpensively after a holiday or season has passed. This easy project was completed in less than an hour.

Supplies for Making a Place Mat Crochet Hook Holder:

  • Fabric place mat
  • Ruler
  • Iron
  • 1/4-inch wide ribbon, 24 inches
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Disappearing ink pen
  • Crochet hooks

Steps for Making a Place Mat Crochet Hook Holder:

  1. Lay your fabric place mat right side down on your ironing surface with the long edges running horizontally. Fold up one long edge 5 1/2 inches and press. This fold is facing right side up and is the inside major pocket for the crochet hook holder. The part of the place mat that is right side down on the table, is the outside of the holder.
  2. Cut a 24 inch piece of 1/4-inch wide ribbon. Fold the ribbon in half. Insert a 1/4 inch of the folded end between the layers of the holder on the left side, 5 inches above the fold of the place mat. Pin the 5 1/2 inch side edges of the pocket to the outside of the holder. Sew the pinned edges using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Back stitch at the top and bottom of the seam to assure the stitches will not come undone when using the holder. This will close the pocket ends and attach the ribbon.
  3. Measure across the top of the pocket, between the side seam stitches. Starting on the left side, make a mark with a disappearing ink pen, every inch. End with approximately 1 1/2 inches remaining. Repeat on the bottom fold of the pocket. Place the ruler from one top mark to it’s corresponding bottom mark and draw a line to attach. Repeat for all the marks. Place a straight pin through both layers of the place mat, between each drawn line.
  4. Topstitch on the lines from the bottom of the pocket to the top, back stitching at the beginning and the end. This will create the compartments for your crochet hooks. Place a crochet hook in one compartment and fold down the top long edge of the place mat to cover the hook. Mark the fold. Remove the hook and press the fold. Place a crochet hook in each compartment. Fold over the top and roll the holder from the right edge to the left. Separate the ribbon ends and tie around the roll to secure.

Sew Keepsake Soft Baby Block Toys to Upcycle Baby Clothes

Published / by Lucy

Fabric blocks are a great gift to sew for any young child. They are soft and can be used for safe throwing. A jingling bell inside makes throwing even more fun. They can also be stacked into towers that are fun when they fall down. You can make them in any size, from tremendous and useful for climbing or seating, down to miniature sets perfect for tiny hands.

I knew I wanted to make some of these for my baby last year, but I didn’t want the blocks to have boring or plainly patterned faces. My applique skills were not developed at all, and I didn’t want to try making my own applique at that time. I found my perfect solution when I was putting away baby clothes. This is a task that is always bittersweet for me; I am glad my baby is growing but I just love sweet baby clothes and hate putting them away! We had been gifted with loads of hand me downs, and I noticed that after my baby had worn them, some things were too worn or ragged to save or give away. But many had such adorable appliques and embroideries. So here was what to do for decorating baby’s blocks!

Baby Block

Just cut out and remove the appliques from the baby clothes, and hand stitch them to felt squares for making the blocks. You can also use squares from the baby clothes for the other block faces, to match and coordinate. I even used knit onsite fabric in making some of our blocks. I just stabilized the knit with nonwoven interfacing, or in one case, hand stitched the knit square on top of a felt square. If you have baby scraps too small for the size block that you want, you can do what I often have and make up a four or nine square patchwork to size.

To make these, determine what size block you want to make. A really nice set of these for stacking could be 8, 7, 6, and 5 inches. Or you can just choose a size, say 6″ and make only one. For each block, you cut 6 squares to the same size. Sew on the appliques for those squares that will have them. Sew the squares together. Refer to my photograph above of the duck block for assembly order.

After you have all six squares sewn together, you will sew the sides to make the cube. Leave one side partially open, for turning. I double sew the seams, to make certain they are sturdy. Carefully clip corners and turn. Then you will stuff them. I add a plastic capsule with a jingle bell in the middle. You can use the kind of capsule that encases toys in the vending machine, or even a plastic Easter egg taped shut. I like to encase the jingle bell like this, so that the sound does not get muffled by the stuffing. You can use whatever you prefer for stuffing. Poly-fil makes a light block, perfect for tossing about. I have also stuffed larger blocks with scraps to make them heavier and more sturdy for stacking and climbing upon. Once your block is well stuffed (but not overfull), hand sew the opening closed carefully. Then make a whole stack!

Besides being used as toys, these look sweet in the nursery as decorations, and even piled on a bed. They can be played with a long time and then be saved as sweet keepsakes of baby’s favorite outfits. And they make great gifts. No one should throw away ruined baby clothes- instead reuse them and make them cute and useful again!