Crochet your own waste-free scrubber sponges

Now that we have learned the mindful skill of crochet we can make our own custom items. You can get creative and design your own clothes, toys, household items, art… imagine all of the possibilities.

Imagine a waste-free home…

Or at least a reduced waste home. A home without plastic in the cleaning cupboard! All of the microfibre cleaning cloths and sponges you have used to clean your home have been creating plastic waste and contributing to landfil. Thankfully there are so many amazing alternatives that are even more effective at cleaning. It’s so easy to make the switch to something better for you and the environment.

Just remember when you’re buying yarn for crochet and knitting, all of the synthetic fibres out there are creating microplastics that enter our environment and our bodies. I like to stick to cotton and hemp yarn when I’m making items for cleaning. I designed this scrubber sponge pattern so that one side is made from hemp yarn for extra scouring power and the other side is made of cotton for regular wiping and scrubbing.

Hemp side
Cotton side

Detour: Here is my video explaining the trouble with microplastics https://youtu.be/Uspk3LOrfjY

I’ve called this deisgn a multipurpose scrubber sponge because it’s useful for cleaning in any room of the house, not just the kitchen. Keep one of these in your bathroom and laundry too. You’ll be reaching for it to clean every surface in your home.

This is my first time writing a pattern for other people to use so please let me know if there are any mistakes!

The Pattern: Hemp and Cotton Scrubber Sponge

  • Patern notes:
  • This pattern is written in US Crochet terms.
  • Begin with a foundation chain and make the sponge as long as you like. You can keep adding rows to make the sponge wider. I found this size works best for my small lady hands but you might prefer an oversized style sponge.
  • Abbreviations:
  • Ch: Chain
  • Sc: Single crochet
  • Hdc: Half double crochet
  • Pattern:
  • With hemp yarn Ch 25
  • Row 1: Hdc in the 3rd chain from the hook. Hdc all the way along.
  • Rows 2 – 12: Ch 2 for the turning chain. Hdc to the end of the row.
  • Attach cotton yarn and cut off the hemp yarn.
  • Row 12: Sc along the long edge of the hemp rectangle.
  • Rows 13 – 24: Hdc to the end of the row. Don’t bind off yet!
  • Finishing: Still with your cotton sitting at the end of Row 24, fold the 2 halves of the sponge together and Sc along the other long edge to join the 2 halves. You will be crocheting into both of the stitches on each edge so they are now “sewn” together.
  • I leave the short sides open so that the air flows through the sponge for easy drying.
  • You can sew or crochet up the short sides if you desire.

Let me know in the comments if you try out this pattern. Tell us what you think!

You can purchase one of these scrubbers at my Storenvy store and check out my other crochet creations for sale.

Crochet For Absolute Beginners: Sculpting With Yarn

Working with just a crochet hook and a ball of yarn (or 5) you can create many different textures and shapes in your very own crochet project.

There are different parts of the stitch in which we can work into. This causes the yarn to be pulled in different directions so you can shape your work into whatever design you design.

Working into the post

You can crochet a stitch around the front of a post of a crochet stitch. Or you can crochet around the back. When reading a crochet pattern these stitches are called Front Post and Back Post crochet. Normally this term is abbreviated with the type of crochet stitch, for example, a double crochet stitch worked into the front of a post in a stitch is called FPDC. Similarly, we can have back post treble crochet written as BPTC.

Front Post Double Crochet (FPDC)

Working into the post of a previous row of double crochet (US terminology from here onwards) can be done around the front of the work. In the video below I show how to do a FPDC. My YouTube video explains in detail how to make this stitch.

Front Post Double Crochet

You make a FPDC by putting your crochet hook through the post of the next stitch from the front of the work.

Back Post Double Crochet (BPDC)

Working from the back of the work you can make a stitch around the back of a double crochet post. Or a treble crochet post! In the video below I have done a BPDC. My YouTube video explains how to do it too.

Back Post Double Crochet

Insert your hook from the back of the work, through the DC post of the next stitch. Work the rest of the DC as normal.

Working into the front and back loops

Front loop only (FLO) and back loop only (BLO) stitches can create edges for your work to give it a 3D shape.

Front loop only (FLO)

The FLO and BLO stitches are super easy. Just work your next stitch into one of the loops at the top of your stitches. This can be done for any height stitch because you’re just using the top loops this time.

Back loop only (BLO)

Increases and decreases

Your rows and circles don’t need to stay the same size. To create shapes with your yarn and crochet hook you’ll need to learn to increase and decrease the number of stitches in your rows and rounds. Increases in a crochet pattern are abbreviated as sc inc for adding a single crochet stitch to a row. The stitch type is usually included otherwise it’ll just say inc and you continue using the same stitch as the rest of the row.

Single crochet increase

To increase a stitch in a row simply place 2 stitches in the same stitch. See my YouTube video for a full explanation.

Crochet patterns abbreviate decreases to Dec or Sc2tog which means single crochet two together. Or it’ll say DC or Tr depending on the stitch required in the pattern.

Single crochet decrease

To decrease the number of stitches in your row by 1 you will crochet 2 stitches together into 1. For a single crochet decrease: put your hook into the stitch and pull up a loop, don’t complete the stitch yet. Put your hook into the 2nd stitch along and pull up a loop, you’ll have 3 loops on your hook. Then finally pull up a loop through all 3 loops to complete the SC Dec.

Thanks so much for reading. Your support means everything to me. Sending my gratitude and kind thoughts to you all. ❤

Prevent creating enormous amounts of waste and save money by making these simple switches

Do you change your kitchen sponge every 3 weeks like you should? Oops… Maybe we’re a bit lax on that hygiene suggestion. But disposable items around the house do add up to a lot of landfill. Just think of all those used toothbrushes and disposable razors. *shudders*

Hang on a moment, I’ve just thought about all of the money spent on disposable razors and sponges. Oh my…

Sponges and paper towels

Even if you don’t change your sponge as often as you do each sponge you do discard is creating more waste in our environment. Along with sponges, paper towels cannot be recycled or reused so they end up as landfill too. In the long term you spend a lot of cash on these frequently used products in your kitchen and cleaning cupboard.

Switches to reduce waste:

  • Use cleaning cloths that you throw in the wash with your towels and bath mats. These can be old rags or cotton cloths. Avoiding plastic items, even multiple use items, will reduce the impact of microplastics entering our environment.
  • Dish scrubbers made from natural fibres such as hemp or nettle yarn can be washed many times. They last even longer if you dry them out in the sunshine!
I made hemp scrubbers for my family’s Christmas gifts. They’re for exfoliating in the shower but they also make really excellent cleaning scrubbers around the bathroom and kitchen. They dry faster than crochet cotton dishcloths. Contact me if you’d like to design a multipurpose hemp scrubber. I have hemp yarn in stock!

Tissues

Paper tissue fibres, as with paper towels, are too short to go into the recycling bin. Tissues will always be a contribution to landfill unless you consider other options. The cost of buying tissues also adds up over time.

Switches for tissues:

  • Convert old clothes and rags into handkerchiefs. Hankies are useful to keep in your pocket or handbag for mopping up any little spills or dirty fingers. Just throw them in the washing machine with your regular laundry.
  • Thrift stores sometimes have packs of hankies for a very good price. Think of how much use you get from a 50 cent handkerchief compared with a 50 cent box of tissues. Boom. All those extra coins you would have spent on tissue boxes, put them in a savings account. You’re winning already.

Toothbrushes and shower loofahs

Toothbrushes should always be replaced at the beginning of the new season, ie. Every 3 months. Changing my toothbrush when the season changes is the easiest memory trigger for me. You need to change your toothbrush to ensure it’s always effective. It’s kind of like an expiry date. Plastic shower loofahs and pouffes should be changed every 3 weeks like your kitchen sponge to avoid build up of mildew. Washable shower scrubbers are waiting out there for you to make the switch today. There are more waste reducing tips in the list below.

Now cast your mind to all of the plastic toothbrushes that have been made since they were first sold in the 1930s.

Bamboo toothbrushes from Sandcloud but it looks like they are discontinued from the website.

How to reduce your impact on the environment:

  • Bamboo toothbrushes can be composted but their bristles cannot. Remove the bristles and add the bamboo to your compost. Items that can decompose naturally don’t actually properly decompose in landfill due to the lack of oxygen.
  • Grow your own loofahs from gourds.
  • Buy or crochet your own cotton body washers using help yarn for exfoliating or special scrubbie yarn like my exfoliating shower mitts.
Handmade body pouffe made from 100% cotton yarn. Contact me for orders. 4 colours available.

Food waste

As mentioned in the above dot point the food you throw into the bin doesn’t actually break down properly. The low oxygen environment in landfill is the perfect habitat for anaerobic bacteria. These are the little creatures who produce methane.

Reducing food waste:

  • Compost: create a section of your yard with a compost heap. Add some worms! You can feed the rest of your garden with the nutrients produced from the composting process.
  • Bokashi bucket: no yard? No problem. When I was living in an apartment I kept my small Urban Composter City bokashi bucket on the balcony. It has a handy tap to distribute the composted nutrients.
  • Create an “Eat first” section of the fridge so that you’re eating up leftovers and soft fruit before they are ready to be thrown out.
  • Write a shopping list and remember to actually take it to the shops. The list helps you remember that you still have a bag of cucumbers in the fridge and you don’t need to buy any more.

Makeup wipes and cotton rounds

Removing makeup every night and applying toner every morning adds up to a lot of single use cotton rounds if you’re into that kind of thing.

Switch single use cotton rounds for:

My handmade cotton rounds. Available for sale in packs of 3.

Disposable razors

Cheap plastic disposable razors are so convenient but they never last very long. So you’re buying more and more, spending more and throwing them all away sooner than you expected.

Cost effective switches for shaving with disposable razors:

Fast fashion

You might be surprised to know that the textile industry creates more carbon emissions than the airline industry. It certainly surprised me! When you stop and think about every purchase you make you can not only save yourself from unnecessary spending but it also reduces your impact on the Earth. 🌍 Our home.

Tips to reduce fast fashion in your life:

  • Switch to the slow fashion life.
    • Purchase quality garments that are made to last more than a couple of seasons. In the long run you save money especially when you repair buttons and small holes to extend the life of your garment.
  • Rent clothing for special occasions.

As always, thanks so much for reading. Click the YouTube icon below to go to my channel and see a list of my latest videos. Like and subscribe to share some happiness.

Crochet For Absolute Beginners part 4: Continuing to crochet in the round

FYI: The video tutorial version of this post is on my YouTube channel here.

Welcome, please sit down, get comfy and join me for some more mindful crafting. Today we’re continuing to learn the art of crocheting a circle.

In part 3 of the crochet for absolute beginners series we learned how to begin a circle with yarn and our crochet hook. Now we need to learn the mathematical formula for creating nice flat crochet circles. If you have too many or too little stitches in each round you’ll end up with wonky bumpy circles that don’t sit flat.

The blue circle on the left has too many stitches in the round and is going bubbly. The red circle on the right has too few stitches and is becoming a bowl.

The mathematical formula to the perfectly flat crochet circle goes a little something like this:

For example, we begin with 6 stitches in round 1.

In round 2 we will need to increase in every stitch around. You now have 12 stitches.

In round 3 increase every 2nd stitch. Now you have 18 stitches.

Round 4 increase every 3rd stitch. 24 stitches will be in the 4th round.

Every round will increase 6 times so you will add 6 stitches in each round. If you begin with 8 stitches you’ll increase 8 times each round. That’s the mathematical pattern here.

Tips for keeping the right number of stitches

• Use a stitch marker to mark the first stitch in every round. Otherwise you’ll be constantly counting as you work and the chance of miscounting the stitches is too great! Trust me.

Types of stitch markers. You can also use a short piece of yarn that is a different colour to your work.

• Count your stitches at the end of each round unless you’re absolutely confident you did it correctly. Otherwise your subsequent rounds will all be off. You will notice your circle becoming more bumpy and wonky as you continue.

Thanks for reading my tutorial! It would mean so much to me if you could please show your support by subscribing to my YouTube channel.

Also please enjoy browsing my online store of handmade items. Contact me for commissions and personalised items.

Crochet for absolute beginners part 3: How to begin crocheting in a circle

Continuing on our journey to learn a new skill and practise mindfulness at the same time; it’s part 3 of the crochet tutorial series, how to crochet in a circle. Instead of crocheting rows as we previously learned in parts 1 and 2, we are now going to crochet in rounds.

See the video version of this tutorial at my YouTube channel.

Why would you need to know how to crochet in circles?

By learning how to crochet in the round you’ll be able to make circular baskets, amigurumi (crocheted toys), hats, beanies, round pillows etc etc etc. There are many crochet patterns that you will encounter which involve crocheting in the round instead of in rows.

Some crochet toys (amigurumi) I made this week. Each section of this pattern is crocheted in the round. Pattern by @Amiguruku

There are two methods to begin a crochet circle.

Method 1: Chain circle

I call this the chain circle method because you make the circle by joining the 2 ends of a row of chain stitches together. Let me show you how.

Begin with a slip knot on your crochet hook. Remember: this doesn’t count as a stitch.

The pattern you are working from will tell you how many stitches to use to make the circle, unless it uses method 2 below. If you’re not using a pattern you can decide how many chain stitches you want to use depending on how many stitches need to fit in the circle. Let’s say you need 6 single crochet stitches to fit in your little chain circle. I would chain 3 then join the circle with a slip stitch in the first chain, see image below.

Three chain stitches joined to the first chain stitch with a slip stitch.

Then you can crochet into the circle you made. I put six single crochet (US terminology) stitches into my chain circle, see image below. I haven’t joined this round with a slip stitch. The pattern that you’re working from will state whether the rounds are joined with a slip stitch or not. If they are not joined rounds then you get a spiral instead of concentric circles.

Six single crochet stitches in a chain circle.

Tip: As a beginner, I sometimes mistake the initial slip knot as a stitch but we need to remember not to crochet into this loop! Join your circle in the first chain stitch and you can definitely see which is the first chain by using a stitch marker. Examples of stitch markers that I have are in the picture below. You can also use a short piece of yarn that is a different colour to your work in the stitch you want to mark.

Examples of stitch markers

New stitch alert

I mentioned the slip stitch in the previous section but I haven’t yet shown you how to do it! The slip stitch is the shortest stitch you can make, it’s even shorter than a single crochet stitch. You do the stitch by entering the next stitch, yarn round front of the hook as normal, then pull the yarn all the way through all of the loops on the stitch. Done!

Method 2: Magic circle

Begin by almost making a slip knot. What I mean is that you leave the knot loose instead of pulling the yarn close to the hook. See the picture below for reference.

A loose slip knot to begin the magic circle.

Now you seal the magic circle by making one chain stitch. See the picture below!

Magic circle plus one chain stitch to seal the circle.

The stitches that are going into the magic circle are called “round one” of the project. If you need to do single crochet (sc) stitches (US terminology) in round 1 then you only need one chain stitch to begin your work. This is because one sc is the height of one chain stitch. Follow the rules for the number of chains you need for a turning chain as mentioned in part 2 of the crochet for absolute beginners tutorial series.

Now you’re going to crochet round 1. In the example below I’ve made 6 sc in the magic circle. The first chain doesn’t count as a stitch in this case.

6 sc in a magic circle.

Here’s the part where it becomes a MAGIC circle. Pull the trailing end of the yarn tail until the circle is drawn tight.

Magic circle with 6 sc pulled tight.

Now you can join the circle together with a slip stitch, unless the pattern says not to join the rounds. Below is a picture of the circle joined with a slip stitch.

Magic circle joined with a slip stitch in the first stitch of the round.

As you work around the circle the centre will become loose unless you secure the tail of the yarn. There are different ways to do it and I’m not quite perfect at it yet but I’m getting there! Here’s my method for securing that circle tightly: Once you’ve completed your work, or when you’re a little bit of the way through, pull the tail of the yarn as tight so that the magic circle is as small as you need it to be. Then use your crochet hook to weave the tail back and forth through the stitches around those first few rounds of the work.

When you want to make perfectly round circles you will need to pay attention to the the number of stitches you work into each round. If you have too many stitches the circles will become ruffled like a chip because all those extra stitches are trying to fit in a smaller space. If you don’t have enough stitches in the round then the work will become bowed and bowl-shaped as the stitches will pull to make the way around the circle.

There’s a mathematical formula to getting the right number of stitches in each round. I won’t go into it here in this post but stay tuned for more crochet tutorials.

Thanks so much for reading!

Visit my store on Storenvy to purchase some of my crochet creations. More items to be added very soon!

Comment below or email me to request custom coloured ice cream melt monsters. Each individual monster is AUD$25 not including shipping. Extra customisation is available for an additional cost.

Mint choc chip ice cream monster in purple and vanilla ice cream monster in mint. Contact me to request your custom colours. Each individual monster is AUD$25 not including shipping.

Crochet for absolute beginners Part 2: Crocheting in a straight line

Welcome back for part 2 of crochet for absolute beginners. The video version of this tutorial is at my YouTube channel. I’ll be using US terminology in the main text. In brackets I will place the equivalent UK stitch translation next to each US stitch. In the previous part we made a foundation chain. You’re going to use that foundation chain now so have it ready.

There are multiple parts of the chain you can work into to get a different effect along the beginning edge of your work. First we will identify the parts of the chain so that we know which part to use.

From the top view of the foundation chain you will see V-shaped stitches linked together. Each of the 2 strands of the v is a single chain stitch. Normally you will work into either 1 or both of these strands. I prefer to work along the top strand of the v.

Foundation chain top view. Find the V-shaped stitches. Excuse me for the chipped polish!
Foundation chain bottom view. Find the back bumps of each chain stitch.

When viewing the base of those v-shaped stitches you’ll see a 3rd strand behind the 2 v strands. I call this the back bump of the chain. Sometimes it’s pulled a bit tight to see it but once you get an eye for it you will spot them in no time. It will take a bit of practice and playing around with the yarn before you can easily tell which strand is which. Don’t give up too early! Practise, practise, practise.

Depending on which type of stitch you will use along the chain there will be a particular number of “turning chains” you will need. This is because the height of each stitch is different. One single crochet stitch (double crochet in UK terms) is the height of one chain stitch so you will leave one “turning chain” on your foundation chain and between each row. A half double crochet (half treble crochet in UK) stitch is as tall as 2 chains so you will leave 2 chain stitches before working into the 3rd chain from the hook. Remember, the loop on the hook isn’t a stitch yet so it doesn’t count.

Working a single crochet (double crochet in UK) into the 2nd chain on the hook. Also working into the top loop of the foundation chain.

My preference is to work into the top loop of the foundation chain as this is easiest for me. Here’s a row of single crochet or sc (dc in the UK) worked into the top loop of a foundation chain, see next image below.

Single crochet (double crochet in UK) worked into the top loop of the foundation chain.

To make the sc (dc) stitch you begin by inserting the hook into the second chain on your hook. The loop on the hook doesn’t count as a stitch so don’t count from this loop. Next you “yarn round hook” (as shown in my YouTube videos part 1 and 2). Then pull that yarn through the first loop on the hook which is called “pulling up a loop”. Now you have 2 loops on your hook so next you “yarn round hook” and then pull the yarn through both loops. You’ve completed one sc. Well done!

Now what about crocheting into other parts of the chain? As I mentioned above, working into the back bump is more difficult but it’ll give an edge that has the V-shaped chain stitches pointing out. This technique makes a nice looking detail for crocheting straps and hems.

Working a sc (dc) into the back bump of the foundation chain.

In the next photo you’ll see a row of single crochet (dc) worked into the back bump of the foundation chain.

Row of sc (dc) worked into the back bump of the foundation chain stitches.

My personal favourite stitch is the half double crochet or hdc (half treble crochet or htr in the UK) because it works up so quickly and it looks like pretty little knots all in rows. The height of this stitch is between a sc (dc) and a dc (tr). You’ll need 2 turning chains to make a hdc (htr) so count 2 chains after the loop on the hook. Work into the 3rd chain from the hook.

Half double crochet (half treble crochet) stitches worked into the top loop of the foundation chain.

To make a hdc (htr) you need to “yarn round hook” before you place your hook in the stitch. Now the yarn is wrapped around the hook once, place the hook in the next stitch and yarn round hook. Now you pull up a loop through the first loop on the hook. You will have 3 loops sitting on the hook. Now yarn round hook and pull through all 3 loops. That’s one hdc (htr) complete. Excellent!

A double crochet (treble crochet) stitch needs 3 turning chains as well because it is about as tall as 3 chains. When making a new row with dc (tr) stitches you’ll make 3 chain stitches at the end of the row then turn your work and continue into the first stitch of the new row.

Double crochet (treble in the UK) stitches worked into the top loop of the foundation chain.

Before you put the hook into your work wrap the yarn around the hook once then go and put the hook into the next stitch. Yarn round hook, pull up a loop through the first loop on the hook. You have 3 loops on the hook. Yarn round hook, pull yarn through the first 2 loops on the hook. You have 2 loops left on the hook. Yarn round hook, pull the yarn through both loops. That’s the double crochet (treble crochet).

Treble crochet (known as double treble crochet in the UK) needs 4 turning chains and it is taller than a dc. You normally won’t encounter stitches taller than the tr (dtr) in the majority of the patterns you will see. So I’ll end with a picture of tr (dtr) stitches worked into a foundation chain.

Treble crochet (double treble in the UK) stitches worked into the top loop of the foundation chain.

For the tr (dtr) stitch you leave 4 chains then crochet into the 5th chain from the hook. Or if you’re at the start of a new row you will make 4 chains before working into the row. But before you go ahead and put the hook in the stitch you need to give the stitch height. More height than the previous double crochet (treble crochet) stitch.

Wrap the yarn around the hook twice and then insert the hook into the next stitch. Yarn round hook again and pull up a loop through the first loop on the hook. Now you have 4 loops on the hook. Yarn round hook and pull up a loop through the first 2 loops on the hook. Now you have 3 loops on the hook. Repeat the yarn round hook and pull up a loop through the first 2 loops on the hook. Now you have 2 loops left on the hook. Time to finish the stitch! Yarn round hook, pull through both loops and you’re done.

Thanks again for joining me as we become more confident and competent with various crochet techniques. Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel too!

Just a reminder, you can see the video version of this blog post here.

Crochet for absolute beginners Part 1: how to begin a foundation chain

There’s a new video on my YouTube channel showing how to begin a foundation chain. I’m a left hander but I learned to crochet right handed so all of these tutorials are right handed. I tried to provide enough background information so that you not only can begin a crochet project but you can understand what you’re doing as you learn. I was disheartened by a lot of tutorials that relied on a lot of assumed knowledge in their videos. As an absolute beginner I was so lost and I quickly gave up relying on video tutorials. I had to first study the basics before watching seasoned crocheters try to remember what it’s like to be a beginner.

My first video was a bit dodgy because I’m nervous. I keep doing that thing where my mind tells me I’m doing everything wrong and I psyche myself out. I’ll try to film the second video today. Until then, here’s the link to the first video: https://youtu.be/58f4hh0LGMw

The basics

1. Make a slip knot

The easiest way to do it is with your crochet hook in your hand. Wrap the yarn around your fingers and pull the yarn from the ball through the loop you made around your fingers.

2. Holding the yarn

Keeping the tension is important if you want even sized stitches. Wrap the yarn around your pinky and then around your forefinger of the non dominant hand.

Wrap the yarn around your fingers to keep an even tension

Using your thumb and middle finger hold your work close to the hook to keep it steady.

Hold your work close to the hook

3. Yarn round hook

Wrapping the yarn around the hook in a consistent direction will produce consistent stitches. Unless otherwise stated in the pattern the yarn will always go behind the hook then wrap around and you pull it through the loop.

The yarn begins behind the hook…
…and wraps around so you can pull up a loop.

4. Pull up a loop

Pull the yarn through the loop on the hook.

One chain stitch is done.

One complete chain stitch.

5. Identifying parts of the chain.

Find the v-shaped stitches. Each v is a chain stitch as viewed from the top. There are 3 parts to a chain stitch and you can use the different parts to create certain edges at the beginning of the work. Just remember to always crochet into the same part of the chain stitch the entire way through otherwise the chain will end up bumpy and uneven. Also remember the loop on the hook isn’t a stitch yet. Your chains are the stitches next to that loop on the hook.

3 chain stitches and a slip knot that has been pulled tight.

Note that the initial slip knot does not count as a stitch in crochet. Pull this knot tight and don’t work into it. (This can get confusing for knitters as knitted work always uses the slip knot as a stitch!)

Thanks so much for reading, as always. I’ll be uploading the next video tonight so you can learn how to crochet into a row. Pretty please like this and subscribe to my YouTube channel queeenvk (with 3 e’s.)