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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Baby Bolero in the Nick of Time

I actually have had a chance to sit and crochet!  The motivator was a birthday party for a sweet little one-year old :-).  I decided to make the bolero in Sue Whiting's Easy to Crochet Cute Clothes For Kids. Amazon's got the book at a great price, please see my affiliated link below.

Here's the finished product!

 


There are some really nice projects in her book, and, after reading a few times, the instructions made sense :-). I've got another baby party coming up, so let's see what else I come up with!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Intricacies

Loving all of the intricate crochet designs for the summer!  I've been pouring over the Summer 2014 issue of Interweave Crochet magazine and could happily make things just from that issue for a long time to come.  Vogue Knitting also has a special 2014 collector's crochet issue out right now with some really amazing lacework and a chevron dress that is on my list of someday projects.  

Also, speaking of lace, I'm seeing a lot of it used in garments and accessories for the summer.  Lots of crocheters find lace making a bit intimidating, but I think some of the new patterns out there give lace a modern look and utilize it in a way that is challenging but doable.  

I just found a fun white jacket for the summer that has a pale pinkish melon colored lining, so I'm thinking about using Claudia Hand Painted Yarns' MiMi Melon linen yarn, maybe combined with a white or offwhite yarn to make a coordinating top.  It's been a while since I made anything for myself so it might be time to take advantage of my yarn stash and all these beautiful summer patterns!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Trying the Lucet

I've been seeing a lot of posts lately on Facebook about the Lucet.  According to Wikipedia, the lucet is a tool, usually made of wood or bone, that is used to create cords or braiding.  It is thought to date back to the Viking and Medieval periods.  The cording made with a lucet tends to come out square looking, and it's very strong with a slight spring to it.  I especially liked finding out that, since the cord is made with a series of loop-like knots, it won't unravel if cut.  Another plus -- the cording can be created without pre-measuring the thread or yarn.

So, while on Amazon doing some other shopping, I searched for the lucet and found this lovely one made by Lacis of Berkeley, CA.






The Amazon seller actually was The Woolery in Frankfort, KY, but beware of looking at the site, you're going to want to order a lot of stuff!  I love that we can order anything from anywhere in the country, or the world for that matter, and have it magically appear on our doorsteps.

Then off to YouTube to look for some instructional videos (the lucet did come with written instructions, which weren't bad but as they say a picture/video is worth...).  The first one I watched is by Evelyn Skae.  She just repeats the movements over and over with lovely background music.  I did have to pause, rewind and play a number of times, but I was able to make a basic cord pretty quickly.  The Stitch Diva's YouTube channel also has a number of lucet videos on it.  I didn't get a chance to really watch any of them, but did add them to my "watch later" list.

Well, now that I have my new toy and some idea of what to do with it, hopefully I will be posting some lucet cord pictures and videos of my own soon!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Forging Ahead

I can't believe I didn't even post once in April.  Thanks to those of you still hanging in there with me.  I really do hope to get back onto a more regular posting schedule again soon.

So, what have I been up to in addition to hanging with Mom as she slowly but steadily recovers from her stroke?  Still working on a sample for Looped Yarn Works that incorporates some of the new spring/summer colors from Rowan Siena 4 Ply.  It's a beautiful 100% mercerized cotton yarn that's quite easy to work with.  I've been using a D hook to craft 1-inch square motifs in different patterns and color combinations.  I've discovered that it's not my favorite kind of project, but at this point, I'm in over 100 squares, so I am forging on!

Speaking of forging, I got a real treat the other day when I headed over to Barnes and Noble to pick up Issue 52 of Inside Crochet magazine -- Vogue Knitting has a new 2014 special Crochet issue!  Featured are some beautifully forged and handcrafted sterling silver and gold hooks by www.celticswan.com.  I might have to break down and order a D hook for myself as motivation to complete the mini-squares project so that I can try out some of the amazing patterns in this issue.  I think the thing that struck me throughout the magazine was the use of so many different types of stitches and textures in the same piece.  Great color combinations as well. Just when you think there can't possibly be new and different ways to crochet, designers come up with amazing and innovative new designs.  Lots of inspiration to be had from this issue!



Thursday, March 27, 2014

Patent Leather and D'Orsay

So, for some reason, I've been on a shoe buying binge!  I've always loved patent leather, and it seems to be very in right now, especially in many colors.  Of course, I still bought black and beige, but it was fun toying with the idea of getting some pink or red ones too (Nine West has some really cute little flats in an array of colors).  It got me thinking about exactly what is patent leather, so I did a little googling to see what I could find out.  Wikipedia has a nice little article -- turns out that patent leather does start with real leather that's treated with a chemical compound to give it a high gloss finish.  Linseed oil originally was used to put on a final coating, but now plastic tends to be used.  And I also discovered that a shoe with the sides cut out, so that there's just the toe cover and the heel with nothing on the sides, is called a D'Orsay shoe (or D'Orsay flats in my case).  I love the little ankle straps even though they are a pain in the neck early in the morning when you're running out the door!  Anyway, I found a pair with the toes in black and the heels in beige (I warned you I was playing it safe with color selections :-).

Anyway, what does this have to do with crochet you ask?!  Well, in my Facebook feed, I saw some patterns for crocheted shoe clips and embellishments as well as this post for crocheted booties and slippers, and off I went, shoe shopping!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Crochet for Easter from Joyous Crafts

Last year I was fooling around with some Red Heart pink yarn and came up with my Crochet Bunny Peep pattern, available for free on Ravelry.  I was contacted by Heather, an owner of Joyous Crafts, to become the exclusive maker and seller of the bunnies on Etsy!  Aren't they wonderful?!



She hand crochets them from pure Peruvian Highland wool yarn and stuffs them with pure wool as well.  Each little peep stands 2 1/4 inches tall and 1 1/4 inches wide at the widest point.  Her Etsy listing is for a set of four little bunnies in light blue, pink, butter cream, and dusty purple.  She's also got some in acrylic yarn as well.  They are already made and ready to be shipped as soon as you buy them!  She's got so many cute items in her shop, it's really worth checking out for her sweet crochet :-)



Monday, March 3, 2014

Crochetville 2014 National Crochet Month Blog Tour

It's National Crochet Month!  It's hard to believe it's already March, and I am participating in Crochetville's blog tour again this year.  Our theme is the "Spring Garden" and if you make it to the bottom of the post, there will be a free themed crochet pattern for you to try out!

But other important matters first.  During this month, we are supporting Halos of Hope, a charity that has a simple mission -- to provide crocheted, knitted, or sewn hats to over 450 cancer centers around the country each month!  I hope you'll check out the website and consider making a hat or monetary donation (100% goes to shipping expenses).  Hats can be sent to:

Crochetville LLC
Attn:  Amy Shelton
103 Scarlet Oak Circle
Harvest AL 35749 
You may send your hats to:
Crochetville LLC
ATTN: Amy Shelton
103 Scarlet Oak Circle
Harvest, AL 35749
- See more at: http://crochetville.com/national-crochet-month-2014-designer-blog-tour/#sthash.sEHToQ8l.dpuf
You may send your hats to:
Crochetville LLC
ATTN: Amy Shelton
103 Scarlet Oak Circle
Harvest, AL 35749
- See more at: http://crochetville.com/national-crochet-month-2014-designer-blog-tour/#sthash.sEHToQ8l.dpuf
You may send your hats to:
Crochetville LLC
ATTN: Amy Shelton
103 Scarlet Oak Circle
Harvest, AL 35749
- See more at: http://crochetville.com/national-crochet-month-2014-designer-blog-tour/#sthash.sEHToQ8l.dpuf
You may send your hats to:
Crochetville LLC
ATTN: Amy Shelton
103 Scarlet Oak Circle
Harvest, AL 35749
- See more at: http://crochetville.com/national-crochet-month-2014-designer-blog-tour/#sthash.sEHToQ8l.dpuf

In honor of Crochet Month and Crochetville's Spring Garden theme, I've been working on a baby-sized version of  Melissa Leapman's Flowers in a Row afghan, available on the Red Heart website at this link.  I decided to make the cuddle blanket in a chunky weight yarn with a J hook:



I'm about to send off the finished project to the mother, but I guess she'll be getting a preview of it here ;-).

Also in celebration, I'm offering 20% off any pattern in my Ravelry store, just use the promotion code NatCro2014 (no minimum purchase required).

Here is a little taste of my style and how I write patterns.  This free square pattern is actually the center part of a larger, more intricate square that I've worked up in a DK weight yarn and that should be available in my Ravelry shop in the next month or two.  For this square, I used the leftover chunky yarn from the baby blanket, and it ended up measuring a healthy 6 inches across.





Materials Needed
• Blue Sky Worsted Cotton:  Hyacinth (Color A) and Pickle (Color B) (150 yd/100 g)
• Crochet hook size I/9/5.50 mm

Abbreviations
beg = beginning
ch = chain
dc = double crochet
hdc = half double crochet
RS = right side
sc = single crochet
sl st = slip stitch
st = stitch

ROUND 1 • (RS): With Color A, ch 8, join; ch 2, 24 dcs in circle, sl st to top of first dc.

ROUND 2 • Ch 1, 1 sc in same st, [ch 5, skip 2 sts, 1 sc in next st] 7 times, ch 5, sl st to top of first sc.

ROUND 3 • [Sl st into next loop, ch 2, 5 dcs into loops, ch 2, sl st into loop] 8 times, sl st to first petal, fasten off.

ROUND 4 • With Color B, join yarn in center st of a petal, ch 1, 1 sc in same st and next st, ch 3, 1 sc in first st of next petal, 1 hdc in next st, 3 dcs in next st, 1 hdc in next st, 1 sc in next st (corner created), ch 3, 1 sc in second st of next petal, 1 sc in next 2 sts (center 3 sts of petal) (side created); continue around, creating 3 more corners and sides, sl st to top of first sc.

ROUND 5 • Ch 2, 1 dc in same st, *1 dc in next st, 3 dcs in ch-3 space below, 1 dc in next 3 sts until corner, (1 dc, ch 2, 1 dc) in next st, (should be center st of corner 3 dcs), 1 dc in next 3 sts, 3 dcs in ch-3 below, repeat from * around, 1 dc in last st, sl st to top of first dc.

ROUND 6 • Ch 2, 1 dc in same st, [ch 1, skip next st, 1 dc in next st] 4 times, (ch1, 1 dc, ch 3, 1 dc, ch 1) in corner, 1 dc in next st, [ch 1, skip next st, 1 dc in next st] 8 times, repeat around, sl st to first dc.

ROUND 7 • Ch 1, ch 1, 1 sc in same st, [1 sc in ch-1 below, 1 sc in next st] until corner, [1 sc in ch-1 sp below, 3 scs in corner st, 1 sc in ch-1 space], 1 sc in next st, 1 sc in ch-1 space around, sl st to top of first sc, fasten off.
~~~~~~~


So, I hope you have a wonderful March and get in lots of crochet!  I hope to be back on a more regular blogging schedule soon -- thanks to all the well wishes you've sent regarding my mom's recovery.  She's had a set back or two, but slowly, she is doing better and better :-)