Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Halloween 101

BOO! Tired of the same old Halloween decorations? Looking for something fun and different? Time to roll back the clock to a Very Vintage Halloween.

A few weeks back I found the Vintage Halloween Swap being hosted by Heidi at Foxgloves, Fabric and Folly. This was not a knitting swap but a craft swap. I was intrigued. I wanted to play too. My small problem of not being "crafty" was allied by the rules allowing the purchase of your swap gift.

Voila~ I'm in. I just have to buy the main gift and then have fun (i.e. no pressure) knitting something Halloween oriented and I knew just what I was going to make. Halloween fingerless mitts. Was that not a cool idea? I could see them in my mind's eye. They would be fun, practical, and fit virtually anyone. They would be styled similar to this Mac and Me pattern only using orange and black yarn and adding a few more stripes. I loved the idea which is a good sign for choosing a gift.

But then Murphy's law kicked in. What are the odds? I was introduced to my swap partner (who will be revealed on October 8th) who promptly advised that she's allergic to wool and all animal fibers. Isn't that special. I guess the Halloween fingerless mitts are out? This wrinkle completely threw me because, as I mentioned, I'm not "crafty." So while I was comfortable with making the fingerless mitts, I was not at all comfortable sua sponte coming up with another idea which did not somehow involve wool or animal fibers.

I know it's not on the same level as world hunger but, after some anguish, I did the only rational thing and that was to take my problem to my knitting group. After all a problem shared is a problem halved. And they came through with a pretty cool suggestion (to my mind) and that was to make a cotton Decorative Duplicate Stitch Dishcloth. And here it is.....

While making this dishcloth it occurred to me that this might make a nice hostess gifts or keep a teenager occupied on a rainy afternoon. Hence, I have written out the very simple instructions.

Decorative Duplicate Stitch Dishcloth


1 skein heavy worsted cotton (I used Kollage Hope Chunky - color Eclipse);
Small bits of different colored yarn for decorative duplicate stitch (I used Noro - Silk Garden color No. 84);
small piece of chalk or other soluble marker
1 pair of US 8 needles
1 tapestry needle
1 crochet hook (optional)


1. Cast on 35 stitches (using long tail method)

2. Knit 5 rows

3. Next row: K3, purl 29, K3

4. Next row: knit all stitches

5. Alternate steps 3 and 4 until desired length (I knit a total of 33 rows)

6. Knit 4 rows (to match cast-on edge)

7. Bind off in knit stitch. If you wish to add the decorative loop stop on the middle stitch and using crochet hook make a chain to desired length and reattach final loop to middle stitch and continue binding off as usual.

8. Block gently to make a smooth surface on which to apply decorative duplicate stitch.

9. Create a stencil using the blocked dishcloth as a guide for dimensions. Simply draw the shape you want and then cut it out. I say simply draw the shape. In point of fact it was Steve who drew the cat because I can't draw for toffee. In the picture below, those are his hands cutting out the stencil. As I mentioned above, a problem shared is a problem halved.

10. Once you have positioned your stencil, using chalk outline the image. Keep in mind that with duplicate stitch you will not be able to make fine embroidery stitches - but it will help to have even a rough guide for your image.

10. Decorative duplicate stitch embroidery is explained here on Lion Brand Yarn's website. I think this would also look cute with a red background and a green Christmas tree in the duplicate stitch. Just saying.

Despite the little wrinkle with what to make, I really did have fun making my swap partner's package. Halloween is a whimsical holiday and a nice opportunity to decorate your home and get into the spirit of the upcoming holidays ~ no matter what your age!

You will have to tune in on October 8th to see what my swap partner sent and the rest of the gift I sent to her!


jillian said...

That is so cute! Glad you had help and were able to come up with a wonderful alternative for the swap.

tiennie said...

That's a sweet idea - cute cute kitty!

Monika said...

This cloth turned out VERY well! Nice stitching you did on it too! :o)

Kelly said...

very cute I bet she loves it!

t does wool said...

oh,now you are a designer,also,Claudia!!!I love this...I'm really more of a doggie person,but this is nice...and I'll bet she adores it!

Bridget said...

Excellent! I really like it, and think it is a perfect Halloween item.

My swap partner sent my package about two weeks ago, and she sent a really great decoration. I just hope she likes what I sent her ...

P.S. What does Mr P think of a cloth with a CAT on it???

Firefly Nights said...

That was a dandy solution to your problem. Love the little cat face. Did you have to explain to Mr. Puffy that it was more appropriate than a Halloween Dog face?

Denise said...

Well that turned out really cute. I would have been in such a panic if that happened to me.

Tracy said...

Hi, Claudia! That is super sweet...I like the vintage feel...Such cute kitty face. Meow :o) Happy Day ((HUGS))

Hilary said...

Claudia, that is SOOO cute! Thank you for the tutorial -- I want to make Halloween themed dishcloths now!

amanda said...

the dishcloth is great and all, but i really love your dry sense of humor in telling the story!!

Marie said...

If it were me, I'm sure I would have just bought something. Kudos to you for sticking it out and getting your knitting group and your hubby to help out. It turned out so cute!

I did notice that Mr. Puffy was not among the party of people helping you to make a cat dishcloth. And rightly so. =)

Diana said...

Very cute project... see you are crafty... in a good way!

Miriam said...

It's wonderful! You know I love cats, so that's just the thing!

So sorry I foiled your plans, it was truly a great idea, and in fact I'd make myself fingerless gloves if I could.

Thanks for being a great swap partner :)

Linda said...

Love it!

She Knits Socks said...

Very clever!

She Knits Socks said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog. The only reason I didn't cry was because I kept telling myself, it'll grow back.

amanda said...

Oh these would be great to put in Halloween party bags! Thanks for the tutorial!

KnittySue said...

That is such a great idea..very cute. Thanks for the idea.

sweetp said...

Thats fantastic!! What a great idea. I've never tried duplicate st before, must give it a go sometime

raining sheep said...

I love it. What a great tutorial...someone is allergic to all wool and all animal fibers? Wow! That sucks. I do have some soy yarn at home...I made socks out of it...can't say it's my favorite - certainly does not feel half as lovely as a wonderful merino :)