Sunday, 15 December 2013

Christmas Tea Towels & Other Ideas

Christmas is almost upon us again, and I wonder whether you are in the throes of Christmas crafting, super-organised and done already, or, like me, just beginning to contemplate!

I have some lovely Christmas crochet links to share with you.
I reckon a lot of crocheted tea towel tops will be given as Christmas gifts this year because they are so quick and easy, plus my TeaTowel Party blog entry has had more visitors than usual lately in the lead-up to Christmas.

Last Christmas I made mini Christmas stockings for the tree.
Read about them in Socks for Christmas (20 Dec 2012)
What are you crocheting this Christmas?  Which crocheted gifts are favourites?  I am keen to put everyone’s ideas together here for gift-giving inspiration. Your pattern recommendations, links, tips and stories are most welcome.

I usually have at least one crocheted gift item to give each year but this Christmas finds me unprepared. 2013 has been exceedingly busy, crocheting for my daughter’s overseas school tour for music.

My first foray into fundraising with crochet began with the Fab Four last year and continued this year with lots of smaller, simpler projects.  It has been a sustained effort, and by the final school term, I was almost at the end of my tether, physically and financially, and I had to be careful not to be all crocheted out!

Fab Four Project
Thankfully, we reached our fundraising target and my daughter has just returned after visiting China, Finland, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy and Hong Kong.  It’s a hard life, isn’t it? I am envious but I digress!

Back to Christmas! I won’t be doing Christmas crochet this year because of dwindling time and energy but I have come across some beautiful designs online which I am very pleased to share with you.

Monica Rodriguez Fuertes has released a fine collection of cute designs especially for Christmas. Most of them are knit projects and reflect a northern hemisphere Christmas but there are a few crochet ones too.

Although Lupey Loops has a focus on crochet, you will appreciate the knit projects that Monica has designed for their intricacy and attention to detail. Even if you don’t knit, they still provide great inspiration for crocheted possibilities.

My favourite ones are the Christmas Diorama baubles which look like the traditional Dutch ones of my family when I was a small child. The baubles are hollow with one side cut out to show little vignettes inside.  There are knit versions and crochet versions.  You can find them through Monica’s HandMadeAwards website or Ravelry group. She also has two Etsy shops. More details about Monica and where to find her online can be found in my Designer Profile post.


A Belgian designer has created the most gorgeous little Christmas Tree ornaments. They are little Christmas trees designed to be hung on the Christmas tree–could they be called “Christmas Tree Christmas tree ornaments”? Aren’t they cute?

Currently based in the USA, Belgian crocheter Annoo has a free pattern on her blog Annoo’s Crochet World for these fancy trees.

As you can see from the picture, this project uses beads. These ornaments would be a great introduction to combining beads and crochet. 

Annoo’s pattern instructions are simple and easy to read, supported by plenty of progress photographs.  Any comments or questions can be asked of Annoo on the pattern page.  I can see from the comments that Annoo is prompt with her responses too (–very important if you need help to crochet your item in a hurry).

My Santa Jar Lid Cover (crocheted in 2009)
Pattern by Terry Kimbrough (Leisure Arts, 1989)

The latest offering from Annoo
(11 Dec 2013) is a free pattern for a
Father Christmas ornament. It reminds me of a pattern I have for thread crochet – Santa Jar Lid Cover which is in an old (1989) Leisure Arts Leaflet (#751) “Christmas Jar Lid Covers: 7 Designs toCrochet” by
Terry Kimbrough.

I think the Leisure Arts Leaflet #751 might be out of print nowadays but Leisure Arts has a new collection of Holiday Jar Lid Covers as an e-pattern on its website for 2013.

Annoo’s Father Christmas is a tree ornament with a hanging loop and uses a larger hook and heavier yarn than the Leisure Arts pattern.  Annoo has also added cute details like doll glasses and a fuzzy yarn for a fluffy beard.  He is so gorgeous!

This angel is a free PDF pattern from Spotlight.

If you are looking for patterns published in Australia, I’ve noticed my local yarn supplier has also increased the number of crochet publications in stock. Some suppliers will also publish their own booklets and leaflets or provide patterns online.

The Panda yarn Book (#231) “Crafty Christmas: 13 festive projects” which I discussed in the blog entry “A Crochet Christmas!” is still available. You can view pictures of the projects on the Australian Country Spinners (ACS) website.

“Crafty Christmas” offers the following crochet patterns:

·         Placemat with Crochet Edging

·         Crochet Christmas Card Edging

·         Crochet Bunting

·         Crochet Tree Skirt

The rest of the book contains knitting patterns and general craft projects that use yarn.  It is a nice source of inspiration, so, for example, if knitting a Christmas stocking is not your thing, you can still use the ideas presented for embroidered patterns on the cuffs, on your crocheted Christmas stockings.

I notice that Panda yarn has a smaller Christmas leaflet available (#804) “Christmas Craft” which has 4 projects.  I have been unable to have a good look inside this leaflet but from the cover image it appears to contain projects for decorating Christmas wrappings, wreaths and tree decorations using pom poms and other techniques with yarn. This is also available through the ACS website.

Although Panda’s booklet and leaflet are not free, many yarn companies supply an excellent selection of free patterns.  A few to which my friends and I keep returning are:

·         Lion Brand (USA)

·         Red Heart (USA)

Lion Brand and Red Heart both have large databases of free patterns.  Because they are in the USA, Australian crocheters need to be mindful that the USA has differences in terminology and hook sizing systems.  Fortunately, these companies have crochet instructions on their websites for you to double check exactly what is meant by the terminology in their patterns.

Lion Brand’s Pattern Finder service is a versatile and easy search engine.  In the search field I entered the keywords 'Christmas' and 'crochet' to find a large selection of useful projects.

From Red Heart’s home page, if you click on the option for Free Patterns, the search engine that appears uses drop down menus to select search criteria from 6 filters however if one clicks on screen where it says 'view all free patterns' one is offered a general search box as well as the filters.  The Red Heart search results were not as specific as Lion Brand.  My search keywords were 'Christmas', 'crochet', 'free', and 'pattern'.  The results included video tutorials and Halloween projects too!

Red Heart is promoting a number of Christmas-themed publications and subscriptions this year so still worth a look if you are a keen Christmas crafter. Red Heart also offer patterns written in Spanish and French.

My santa jar lid covers fit wide and narrow jars.
Pattern from Leisure Arts.

The ultimate source for patterns including Christmas ideas is Ravelry. 

If you have not visited yet, you must! 

It is the very place to find the most charming designs from individual designers as well as interpretations of patterns by large companies.  There are interest groups, chat rooms and forums on any topic you could think of in relation to crochet, knitting, weaving, spinning … anything at all involving yarn and fibre.
Click on Ravelry’s ‘Patterns’ tab to enter your keywords into a general search box.  My keywords ‘Christmas’, ‘crochet’ and ‘free’ returned 2,079 results of which 1,917 were crochet (161 were knitting and 1 was loom knitting) and 2,009 were free.
Don’t be overwhelmed. Ravelry’s filters allow you to narrow down your search according to types of project, yarn weight, fibre, tools, techniques etc. Be warned: you can lose yourself in the beautiful work on display but it is a fabulous source of inspiration and joy. If pushed for time to find a project, get to know how to use the filters to narrow down the search.

Now that’s plenty of resources for Christmas crochet to keep us going. The links and publication details are listed below.

I would love to hear about your Christmas crafting and please add your pattern recommendations and special Christmas finds in the comments below.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday time. Cheers!


Annoo’s Crochet World:
HandMadeAwards Etsy shop:
HandMadeAwards Ravelry group:
Lion Brand Pattern Finder: Lion Brand Pattern Finder:
Lupey Loops “A Crochet Christmas” (29 Dec 2012):
Lupey Loops “Socks for Christmas” (20 Dec 2012):
Ravelry pattern search:
Red Heart free patterns:
Red Heart view all free patterns:
Spotlight crochet angel:


Kimbrough, Terry,“Christmas Jar Lid Covers: 7 Designs to Crochet” Leaflet 751, Leisure Arts, Little Rock, AR, USA, 1989 [].
Panda, “Crafty Christmas” Book 231 (PB5555), Panda, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 2012, [].
Panda Christmas Leaflet “Christmas Craft” Leaflet 804 (PL888), Panda, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 2012, [].


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