My Favorite Free Knit and Crochet Patterns for Blankets

free crochet baby blanket pattern, striped, bobbles

Blackberry Stripe Baby Blanket is worked using 7 colors of Lion Brand Cotton-Ease (1449 total yards). It's based on an easy to learn Bobble Stitch, and links to a how-to video if the stitch is new to you. For the blanket pictured she used 7 different colors of yarn and randomly grabbed a different skein for each row.

Great blanket made up of 24 squares using self-striping sock yarn. Calls for 750 grams of yarn & US 4 needle for a gauge of 23 sts x 46 rows in garter st = 10 x 10 cm / 4'' x 4''. Click on the picture to go to the pattern.

Happy Colors Blanket is crocheted following a free tutorial on the Just-do blog.

A cheerful crocheted blanket, Orange Blossom  mixes stripes and flowers in warm summer colors using an H hook and a gauge of 14 dc x 8 rows = 10 x 10 cm / 4'' x 4''.

One of my all time favorite designers, Kaffe Fassett, has posted free instructions to make this patchwork knit
blanket, the Jubilee Throw, using Rowan Felted Tweed DK. It's a very extensive free pattern, written in several languages. But when you scroll to the end it has charts for each of the squares, any one of which could make an interesting cushion or bag. 

"An African Adventure", created by Horst Schulz. It'a on Ravelry so there are lots of different versions for inspiration.


Postcard Art

ATC's are feeling a bit small, and I can't carry around 3' masonite boards so I'm making postcard sized pieces that I can send out.

The first postcard I'm sending out:
2013-1. Gesso'd found postcard with acrylic paint, soft pastels, tissue paper and varnish. 7" x 5"
It's going to be part of a collaborative Zine project, The Missive Survival Zine. From her blog: "At least a portion of absolutely EVERYTHING sent to the address below between Jan 15, 2013 and April 15, 2013 will be compiled into a zine titled Missive Survival. All who have contributed anything (a letter, a poem, a drawing, a postcard, anything) will receive a copy of the collaboration in the mail by May 2013." Check her blog for the address.

The second card in this series was done using the same basic process. I built up several coats of different colors of acrylic paint, then shaded in with chalk pastel, then created a grid with gel (so it's raised a bit from the layers below.) I covered a piece of tissue with gel and laid it on top to keep the pastel from smearing. Finally I drew on top with pen & ink.
2013-2: Gesso'd found postcard with acrylic paint, soft pastels, tissue paper and varnish. 7" x 5"

The third card in the series uses the same basic techniques as above but I cut holes in the tissue before laying it down to reveal diffferent colors from beneath. There's a total of 3 layers of tissue, which reads as one layer in the end.

2013-3: Gesso'd found postcard with acrylic paint, soft pastels, tissue paper and varnish. 7" x 5"
These two cards were done for the Swap-Bot Profile Based Postcard Swap - Canada/USA. My swapping partner indicated a delight in vintage photos and glittery things. I used photos I found somewhere and a book page from CG Jung's "Man and His Symbols". It happens to be a page talking about the use and influence of collage specifically that of Kurt Schwitters. Seemed appropriate....

2013-4: Acrylic paint, gel, gesso and paint pen with found images on paper

2013-5: Acrylic paint, gesso, gel and paint pen on a book page.

2013-6: Ink and marker on card stock

2013-7: Ink and marker on card stock
2013-8: Acrylic, ink and liquid embossing on card stock
2013-9: Fabric, postage stamps, envelopes, thread on card stock


Postcard Swapping Opportunities

Having amassed a good sized box of postcards I've picked-up while traveling and collected on Swap-bot I thought I'd see what else was out there.

Send a postcard & help save a post office!This post office in Rupert, VT is owned by artist Jane Davies. It's hours have been cut & with the uncertain state of the USPS it's future could be in jeopardy. Jane writes on her blog: " The postal service will review the activity at our post office annually, and decide what to do with it: restore the "normal" hours, close it, cut back the hours even more, etc.  The two things that make a difference to The Postal Powers That Be are (A) revenue, the amount of money the PO brings in via stamp sales and package shipping, and (B) - and this is where you come in - the VOLUME of mail that it handles." 

If you send her a card she'll send you one back. Check out her blog posting for more info.

SWAP-BOT always has a few going, and they've generally pretty specific. Example - just signed up for one that's called "Museum Postcard Swap", with the description "For this swap you'll send your partner a postcard from a museum. It can be any kind of museum, but the postcard must be store-bought."  

Sometimes they can be a bit too specific, and when you add in your individual swappers sometimes (at least to me) obsessive wishes, likes & dislikes it can be sort of a hassle to figure out. There seems to be a consistent disinterest in handmade cards, which are my favorite, so I've gone searching for other/additional options.

POSTCROSSING is probably the best known with the largest number of participants. It's pretty straightforward. Send some. Get some back. The interface is easy. So far I've sent 15 and received 12 back. No problems as yet.

I've received some I'm especially partial to:

from Kel Hardy in Montgomery, Alabama (handmade)

from Minna in Outokumpu, Finland (from her mother-in-law's photo stash)
Kate Edith Gough (English, 1856-1948)

Matt sent me this interesting card from Art Institute Chicago. He explains that it's from a Victorian Photocollage show he saw a few years ago. "In those days, it was thought unseemly for women to attend art school or dirty themselves with oil paint, so for many women their only artistic expression came from making collages of their family photos at home."

It's a great card with a really nice message, which shouldn't be surprising as I see that Matt is "18th on most postcards sent from United States of America" on Postcrossing.

He's inspired me to emulate his messaging style. It was both personal & informative. I feel really lucky to have it in my collection.

Kat Sloma has set up a "LIBERATE YOUR ART 2013" swap. Send 5 postcards printed with your art by April 6 and receive 6 postcards back. There's also a facebook page for the event. I'm having fun figuring out what image to use.


When I googled postcard swap this cheerful fellow popped up with the appropriately titled website CANYOUSENDMEAPOSTCARD.COM. So far he's received 756 postcards. I'll definitely be sending one just as soon as they come back from the printer.

Searching Tumblr for postcard swap turns up a few options as well. Need more time to sort through what they all involve.

There are a few Facebook pages for swapping: Postcard Exchange is the only one I've had time to look at. Need to spend a bit more time on it. The other pages need more review before I can put them up here. Time, time, time.....

I just found a set of 100 Pantone postcards on Amazon for about $13. Not sure if I'm more interested in having a cheap way to have 100 pantone colors to play with, or the option of using the postcards as a base for my own art.
    Either way, it's cheap enough to give it a try.

Finally, if anyone's interested in swapping directly with me I've got this postcard I designed & had printed available to send out

Email me your address and I'll send a card out to you. 


Where to Have Postcards Printed

I've started sending cards through Postcrossings but can't find any for my own little town so decided to create my own. This led me to the dilemma of how to have them printed.

My first try was to go to my local drugstore & print 4 x 6 photos & then glue a back to them.

This was very cheap and relatively painless for the 6 I wanted to send out right away. But the gluing is sort of a hassle so I thought I'd try out online printing services. That's when the confusion began. There are lots of options. It's hard to compare prices as each has slightly different options, and none show the shipping charges until the end (which I find extremely annoying.)

I ended up doing a test with Total charge was $44.50. I got 100 cards, 4 x 6" and chose the Premium option (done on an offset press, as opposed to the Value cards done on a digital press). I found a coupon code (PCDISC) and got a $6 discount. They're printed on 15 pt stock, color front, black & white back with a glossy front that's uv coated. I also ordered a pack of sample cards which came very quickly and give a really good idea of what the options are. I heartily recommend requesting them. The printed card arrived as promised, though it did take quite a bit longer than Zazzle. I'm happy with the weight of the stock & I like the glossy finish on the front. The cutting is clean and consistent, though some of the cards have a worn appearance on some of the edges. The color is not as vivid and the contrast not as strong as on the photos I printed using the same files. All in all I'm happy with the product and would order postcards, and other printed items from them in the future.

I wanted to get just a few cards for the Liberate Your Art 2013 swap. Since I just needed a few I decided to try Zazzle. The cards arrived today & I'm very pleased. The process was easy. They shipped very quickly. The quality is great. I ended up paying $7.04 for 8 cards (with a 15% discount for President's Day sale and free freight for trying the Zazzle Black program free for 30 days.) I used a close-up of a painting for the card. Excellent result. I definitely recommend them for small runs.
Postcard: Mixed Media Painting, 2012

Postcard: Lijiang, China, 2010

This all started with an assignment in my Photoshop class to create a postcard. I chose to use photos I'd taken on a trip to Lijiang, China which seemed to best fulfill the many requirements of the assignment.

Back to the topic at hand. Here are other sites I researched:

Moo. More expensive, but looks like the quality might be a bit better as they use 16 pt stock. They do runs as small as 20 cards ($19.95), but 120 cards w/shipping is $109.73.

VistaPrint. They're priced similarly to OverNightPrints, but I didn't like their size (5.47 x  4.21) and I'd already done 4 x 6 artwork.

GotPrint. Smallest quantity is 100. 14 pt gloss stock with uv coating printed color on the front & black & white on the back is   $27 plus freight of $9.76. The price was so close I thought I'd go with better paper & offset printing) lets you print just one card at a time. ($1.39 per card, with discounts starting at 9 cards. Plus shipping is fairly priced at $1 for up to 3 cards, and $2.50 for 4-10 cards.) It's by far the easiest to use design-wise. They've got lots of templates and you can use up to 4 photos on a single card.

If you want to create your own postcards individually these are a good option from Amazon.
Cover It Blank Postcards - 4 x 6 inches - Pack of 50

You get 50 blank postcards for a little over $12. They're blank on the front and have all the pertinent info on the back, which makes them a good option if you want to do original artwork. Which you could then scan or photograph and then have multiples printed at one of the sites above.

I've created a couple of generic templates for postcard backs that you can upload & paste onto the back of photos for a quick solution.

Please feel free to add info to the comments section if you have experiences or other sites to recommend.