Free Knitting Pattern: Quick & Easy Summer Placemats

Easy Summer Placemats Free Knitting Pattern by Edie Eckman
Easy Summer Placemats Free Knitting Pattern designed by Edie Eckman

Brighten up your summer with these quick and easy summer placemats. They are a perfect first project for beginning knitters, and they make a great house-warming gift for new neighbors.

This post may contain affiliate links, which help support me but don’t cost you anything extra.

The Yarn

Craft Yarn Council Size 5 yarn icon

Bulky-weight yarn makes the knitting go fast! Lion Brand Rewind Tape Yarn is fun to work with. Because of its construction, it’s less bulky than you would think, and it imparts a great texture to the fabric.

 

Lion Brand Rewind Tape Yarn

I love the exuberant colors that I used, but you can also choose from more muted shades to suit your taste. The instructions below are for two placemats in different main colors. If you want to make four placemats, two of each color shown, with a yellow stripe on each, you’ll need two balls each of the blue and pink, and one ball of the yellow.

 

The Pattern

Garter stitch is about as basic as a knitting stitch can be, and that’s all you need to know to knit these placemats! Minimal pattern-reading is required, and gauge doesn’t even matter all that much.

Easy Summer Placemats Free Knitting Pattern designed by Edie Eckman

Quick & Easy Summer Placemats

One size: 16″ x 13″/40.6 x 33 cm

Materials
Lion Brand Rewind Tape Yarn (70% polyester/30% viscose, 3.5 oz / 100 g, 242 yd / 221 m), 1 ball each color 148 Fish Bowl (A), color 195 Think Pink (B), and color 157 Make Lemonade (C) [See note above about yarn amounts for multiple placemats.]

US Size 10.5 / 6.5 mm knitting needles

Stitch marker or piece of waste yarn

Gauge
13 sts and 22 rows = 4″ / 10 cm in garter stitch (knit every row)
Gauge is not crucial in this project.
Watch How to Measure Gauge in Knitted Garter Stitch for more information.

Pattern Notes
Leave a 6″ / 15 cm tail for weaving in each time you begin and end a yarn.

Beginning knitters will want to knit the pattern exactly as written. More experienced knitters may create a slip-stitch selvedge by slipping the last stitch of each row knitwise with yarn in front.

Abbreviations
k: knit
RS: right side
st(s): stitch(es)
WS: wrong side

Instructions
With A, long-tail cast-on 42 sts. Knit 1 WS row. Turn work, and place a marker or piece of waste yarn on this side to indicate that the side is the right side.

Knit every row until piece measures 13″ / 33 cm from cast-on edge, ending with a WS row. Cut A, leaving a 6″ / 15 cm tail for weaving in.

With C, knit 10 rows (5 garter stitch ridges). Cut C.

With B, knit 2 rows (1 garter stitch ridge). Cut B.

With A, knit 6 rows (3 garter stitch ridges). Bind off.

Weave in ends.

Make a second placemat, substituting B for A and A for B in the instructions above.

Other Projects

Check out these other easy knitting patterns:

Blue Springs Double Cowl

Easy Quick-Knit One-Skein Tea Cozy

Molly Hat

Stoneybrook Shawlette

Zig Zag Eyelet Scarf

 

Review: Brightech LightView Magnifying Lamp

Brightech Lightview Rolling Base lamp

My mother, the needlepointer, taught me the value of a good lamp for crafters. Recently I was contacted by Brightech, who asked me if I would like to receive one of their lamps in exchange for a review.

This post contains affiliate links. Opinions expressed here are my own.

Brightech has a number of lamps to choose from, from decorative floor lamps to weatherproof solar string lights. Since the winter days are getting shorter, and my eyes aren’t getting any younger, I was especially interested in their magnifying lamps. I chose the Lightview Rolling Base LED Magnifier Lamp to try for myself.

The Assembly

Brightech Lamp in boxThe lamp arrived via UPS in a box inside a box inside another box. And inside the boxed box was a nice amount of custom-fit Styrofoam. It would be hard to imagine this lamp getting damaged in shipment!

There really wasn’t a lot of assembly required. Just stick the upright pole in the heavy rolling base, and screw it in with the hex wrench provided. Insert the top portion of the lamp assembly in the vertical pole, and in less than 10 minutes —including unpacking the box— it’s ready to use.

The Features

Brightech Lightview Rolling Base lampThe Lightview Rolling Base LED Magnifier Lamp is a magnifying floor lamp with a very heavy weighted base and six small casters. It stands about 47″ [114 cm] high when it’s collapsed down. You can adjust the lamp for both intensity and color.

The magnifying glass has a 15″ [38 cm] focal length and 1.75X magnification. There’s a flip-down cover to keep dust out when not in use and to prevent accidental fire. (Ask me sometime to tell you about that time when my mother’s magnifying lamp almost set the house on fire.)

Brightech Lightview LED Roller Base Magnifier LampThe arm extends a long way and it has a 53″ cord so it allows you some flexibility when placing the lamp near your seat. There’s an adjustable knob right next to the lamp which allows you to adjust the angle of the magnifier.

This is a nice, classic-looking magnifying lamp. I chose black, but it also comes in white. It retails for $94.99 with free shipping on the Brightech website. I’ve used the lamp for a couple of weeks now, so here’s my report.

Pros

The Base: The lamp feels really stable, unlike some extending-arm lamps I’ve had in the past. The base is heavy enough to handle a full extension without feeling like it will tip over. It rolls easily on bare floors.

Comparison of different light settings

The Light: What really appealed to me about this particular  lamp was the variable lighting options for both intensity and color. There are three settings for each, which makes it much easier to see those dark purple stitches in the evening! I tried to get good photos to show you just how different the lighting color and intensities look. The photos shown here have not been color adjusted, and you can see the differences somewhat. Take my word for it that they are much more distinct in real life!

The Magnification: Although I sometimes wear reading glasses to work on fine yarn at night, I don’t usually think of using any special magnification. However, when I started testing this lamp, I was amazed at how wonderful it was to be able to see the stitches so clearly. I’ve been crocheting with a fine-weight dark purple yarn, and I’ve had no problem at all. The ergonomic benefit of having magnification was a surprise to me!

The Portability: I have two main places where I sit to craft. I like that I can move the lamp from one spot to the other without a lot of trouble. I have more floor space than I do tabletop space, so the floor model is what works for me. The long cord means that I don’t have to use an extension cord to reach the wall outlet no matter where I situate the lamp.

The Stays-Puttedness: OK, I made that term up. Once I have the lamp set up at my optimal angle, it stays there. I’ve had extended arm lamps in the past that kind of dropped after a while. With this lamp, I’ve done a couple of marathon crochet sessions, and it stays right where I want it. And because it’s an LED, it stays cool during those long hours of crafting.

The Cons

The Base: I know, it was a “pro” also. Because the base is heavy, and the casters fairly small, it doesn’t roll well over carpets. I end up lifting it to move it over several area rugs. This might be a deal-killer if you have deep carpets and plan to move it a lot.

The Limited Swivel: Although the connection at the lamp is quite adjustable, the swivel action of the upright is limited. Sometimes I have to rotate the entire base to get the lamp head in the right spot when I first set it up in a new location.

The Styling: Since the lamp is spending a good portion of its life in my open-plan living area, I wish it were a bit more stylish. It’s not unattractive, and it’s certainly functional, but I’d like to challenge all the industrial designers out there to create a great magnifying lamp with a bit more pizazz!

A Final Word

Brightech Lightview Rolling Base LEDFor the price, the Brightech LightView Rolling Base LED Magnifier Lamp seems to be a great option, combining a reasonable price point with some good features. I’m making it a permanent part of my evening fiber sessions. If you aren’t sure you want or need a magnifying lamp, you might just be surprised at what it can do for you!

Lightview Flex 2-in-1 lampYou may prefer a non-magnifying lamp, a lamp that clamps onto your sewing table or desk, or a tabletop lamp. Brightech has a number of magnifying and non-magnifying lamps to choose from.

Good lighting is an important ergonomic consideration for all crafters. You want to be able to position your body and hands in the ideal way, and to have adequate light and magnification to avoid strain. Do yourself a favor and look into finding the perfect lamp for your needs.

For more on ergonomics, read Knitting Comfortably with Carson Demmers.

 

New Book: Pincushions to Sew

Pincushions to Sew
Pincushions to Sew Leisure Arts Edie EckmanThis post may contain affiliate links.

Surprise! I’ve written a sewing book! Pincushions to Sew, from Leisure Arts, features 15 pincushions designed by yours truly.

These were great fun to make, and I had a blast thinking of ways to embellish them. And since I’m only an intermediate sewer myself, I can guarantee that the sewing skill needed is “not that much”.

Why Pincushions?

Pincushions to Sew Prairie Points

 

  • They are quick to make. I was amazed at how quickly I finished these, compared to a knitting project!
  • They offer the perfect opportunity to practice your sewing skills. I learned to make Prairie Points just for this book.
  • It’s a great way to use small amounts of fabric. Each of these uses only 5″ charm squares or jelly roll strips, in coordinating prints and colors.
  • You can embellish them using all kinds of fun ribbons and other trims. What a terrific excuse for another trip to the store to get more doo-dads!
  • The finished product is completely utilitarian. You can always use another pincushion.
  • They make great gifts for your crafty friends.

Continue reading “New Book: Pincushions to Sew”

How to Sew the Vintage Touches Apron, Part 1

Sewing Apron Top
This page may contain affiliate links, which help support me, but don’t cost you anything extra.

Amanda Jarvis knitsA little bit of sewing + a little bit of crochet = a lot of charm in this Vintage Touches Apron project.

When Vickie Howell asked me to be on the “vintage touches” episode of The Knit Show with Vickie Howell, I had to come up with an appropriate project. Something a little bit retro, a little bit modern, and of course, with a crocheted edging straight from Every Which Way Crochet Borders. Because I’m getting back into sewing in a small way, I thought making my own apron and adding a cute edging would be just the ticket.

Follow the easy instructions below, and you’ll have your own apron ready to embellish when The Knit Show premieres online on October 5. 

Gather Materials

Find a cute cotton tea towel. Avoid terrycloth, and go for 100% cotton if you can. You’ll want one that is at least 25″ [64 cm] wide and looks good in “landscape” mode. You may be able to find a real vintage towel at a flea market or in your grandmother’s kitchen. I used the Artiste Vintage Stripe Towel Set, which comes in a two-pack.  It measured 20″ x 28″ [51 cm x 71 cm] before washing.  See below for additional options.

You’ll also need about 80″ {203 cm] of 1 1/2″ [4 cm] wide grosgrain ribbon in a color to coordinate with the towel, sewing thread in the same color as the ribbon, pins, and clear fabric glue or Fray-Check. And if you’re trying to coordinate colors and thinking ahead to the crocheting part, you’ll need Size 10 crochet cotton in a color to match the towel, plus a contrasting color. I used Red Heart Classic Cotton in Natural and Burgundy.

Oh, and you’ll need an iron, ironing board and sewing machine. Let’s not forget those!

Prepare Fabric

Machine wash and dry your towel. It will probably shrink some. Iron it.

Gather Top

Center PleatFold towel in half lengthwise and place a pin at center front. Open towel and place on flat surface with right side facing up. Fold in 1″ [2.5 cm] each side of center front pin to create a box pleat. Pin pleat. 

Measure for side pleatsPlace pins 5″ [12.5 cm] either side of center front pin. 
Pin side pleatsFold in 1/2″ [1 cm] either side of each pin to create box pleats. Pin pleats, then press.

BasteBaste two times: one line approximately 1/4″ [.6 cm] from top edge, and one line parallel to and 3/4″ [2 cm] from first basting. 

Sew on Waistband/Ties

Pin ribbonFold ribbon in half to find center. With right side of apron facing up, pin center of ribbon at center front of apron, aligning edge of ribbon with top edge of towel. Working from the center toward the sides, pin edge of towel along top edge of towel, aligning edges or allowing ribbon to extend a scant 1/16″ [15 mm] past towel edge.

Beginning at left edge of apron, sew 1/4″ [.6 cm] from top edge.

Beginning at left edge of apron, sew 1/4″ [.6 cm] from lower edge of ribbon.

Trim Ribbon

Seal ribbon endsTrim Ribbon ends at an angle. If desired, run a bead of Fray-Check or clear fabric glue along ends of ribbon to prevent fraying. I used clothespins to keep the glue off my tabletop while it dried.

The next step will be to embroider a blanket stitch on the three remaining edges in preparation for crocheting the edging.

That will be in a separate post, coming soon!

Watch for the release of Season 1 of The Knit Show with Vickie Howell on October 5.