Saturday, April 8, 2017

Crochet Top Hanging Kitchen Towels | Housewarming Gift Ideas

I wanted to write this post about the history of crochet top dish towels. After half an hour spent searching on Google, I couldn't find a single thing about why people started crocheting the tops of their dish towels. There are lots of posts with patterns, and quite a few on the history of embroidered and handmade dish towels, but nothing on why crocheting the tops is so popular.

crochet top hanging kitchen dish towels

Crochet top dish towels are a staple at craft fairs. We often received them as gifts when I was growing up. You can see the appeal: they're a lot harder to lose when they stay attached to the oven door.

hanging kitchen towel

Some people who make these cut the towel in half first, and then crochet the top half of each one. That way they have two to sell or give away, but the down side is that they're thinner.

Our crochet top dish towels are "double thick" which means it's one regular dish towel folded over and then crocheted to hang.

double crochet towel

Here's a sampling of the ones that we have made. There are lots of themes to choose from. See our shop for more.

crochet top towel

black checked towel

wine kitchen decor

apple kitchen decor

Do you know anything about the history of these crafty towels? Let me know!

Shop crochet top double kitchen towels

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Favorite Yarn for Knitting in 2017

Every knitter has a favorite yarn. Some prefer custom dyed natural fibers while others gravitate toward affordable, no dye lot synthetics.

Marion started knitting with wool and angora because it's what was available at the time. Eventually, she began using acrylic yarn because it's machine washable and more durable than wool - especially for socks.

These days the items in our shop are made from a variety of materials. Here's some information on what we love to knit with.

Acrylic Yarn

Acrylic yarn is the staple in our stash. All of our mittens, baby sweaters, and afghans are knitted from acrylic yarn.

This material is great because it's machine washable, doesn't shrink, and is very soft. It's ideal for people with allergies because unlike wool, it does not contain lanolin that can irritate the skin.

Acrylic yarn is available in a variety of colors. In fact, our mittens are available in more than 48 colors! We choose a manufacturer that does not use dye lots because then we can ensure that we are offering consistency with colors.

Our favorite brand is Caron Simply Soft. As its name suggests, this yarn is luxuriously soft. It also has a slight sheen that looks luxurious and sets it apart from other yarns.

The Caron and Red Heart one pound skeins are great for baby afghans because there's no need to knot pieces together.

For baby sweaters, we prefer Bernat baby yarn because it is fine and soft.

Wool Yarn

We introduced baby hats to our line a few months ago. Baby garments require a finer fiber so that they are not too chunky in a tiny size.

I love the Cleckheaton 100% merino wool that is superfine, yet eight ply, because it knits into a tight leave without being too chunky.

Alpaca Yarn

Alpaca fiber is luxuriously soft and a little fuzzy. And – who can resist those cute faces?

I knitted a pair of mittens from alpaca fiber that won a prize at the county fair. Due to the justifiably higher price of this material, it's not something that I use every day, and isn't often found in the shop.

Cotton Yarn

Most recently I began experimenting with cotton yarn to create washcloths and dishcloths.

Knitting with cotton is a little different than the other yarn I'm used to. It's a little bit rougher and doesn't slide over the needles as easily as acrylic.

Still, it makes great scrubby cloths that have many uses.

Watch the shop for these - they'll be coming soon! Check out our Instagram @MarionsMittens for sneak peeks. 

Shop link: 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

New Line of Baby Hats: Knitted from Superfine 100% Merino Wool

I have been asked about hats quite a bit over the years and several months ago I was inspired by some really fine yarn I saw at Joann's. What could I use this yarn for? Baby hats seemed to be the answer.

The yarn is a superfine 100% merino wool by Cleckheaton in Australia. You can read about it here. What I love about this yarn is that it's very soft and doesn't seem as fuzzy/pilly as traditional wool. It is luxuriously soft and smooth. The yarn is very fine and yet it has 8-ply strands woven together for thickness.

The hats are fairly simple but it's the yarn and stitching that sets them apart. In the newborn size, for example, there are 880 stitches in the ribbed band of the hat alone!

The result is a warm, soft garment that will keep your baby's head warm. Using a fine yarn means that the hat isn't too bulky.

I have spent some time designing my own hat pattern (with matching mittens, of course). As of this blog post I am up to three sizes:

  • Small preemies
  • Preemies or small newborns coming home from the hospital
  • Newborns