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Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Well, all I can do is try, try again next year!  I'm also going to take this opportunity to talk about some things that did go well.  First and foremost, I've really been enjoying making and building friendships on Facebook.  Please come "friend" me and visit/like the Many Creative Gifts page!  I've gotten to see some really beautifully made crochet and knit items on Facebook that I've shared and read some well done blog posts.  It's been educational and inspiring and given me some ideas about how I want to revamp my blog next year.

I've also had another pattern, the ZigZag Book Bag, published in Inside Crochet magazine.  That was a fun project that involved working with a bobbled chevron pattern and thicker yarns and hook.  Inside Crochet is offering a free download of the issue, so please enjoy!  I will post the pattern in my Ravelry store as soon as I translate it into American ;-).

I also did my first Holiday Bazaar!  It was really interesting to see what drew interest and what was overlooked... 

So, at this point, I wish you a very wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year!  As we usher in 2015, I hope you will continue to subscribe to my blog and enjoy what I'm able to offer.  I truly believe that next year will be better than the one coming to a close, and I hope we go on this adventure together!  As I always say, stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Handmade Gifts

As we get into the holiday season (yup, the trees and ornaments, etc., are already in the stores!), I'm sure a lot of us are plotting out our gift projects.  I found this beautiful crochet Leaflines Shawlette  that I want to make for a special friend who's going through a lot these days...  Of course, I still haven't finished any of the other projects underway in this #yearofmaking, but I just can't help it :-)

But, this time of year always gets me to thinking about whether my handmade gifts are the way to go.  I always read Carolyn Hax in the Washington Post because I believe she assesses situations very well and gives sound advice.  So, I was really happy to see the column she recently wrote on why Handmade Gifts Trump Mass-Produced Stuff.  I say with good projects and good friends, handmade is the way to go!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


No, nothing literally thankfully -- I mean that I am having a hard time deciding what project(s) to do next.  Of course, that doesn't mean that I've actually finished the ones underway now!  Mom's sweater is underway, and I'm at the point where I need to separate the arms from the body (knitting the sweater in raglan from top down).  That means more needles or cables, or something to get the arms set aside, so I'm on hold there.  My sweater top is coming along, but I am at the shaping the neck and shoulders part, which for me is going slowly...

In the mean time, my wonderful friend Charlene got me some more Japanese crochet books at the Japanese bookstore in NYC!  One of them especially has some beautiful wraps and tops that looks pretty easy to make...  You know where I'm going with this ;-)

Also, I designed what I think turned out to be a pretty little "Spicy Shawlette" from a beautiful lace-weight yarn that unfortunately has been discontinued, so I need to rework it in a new yarn before posting:

Of course I've got millions of other ideas too about my next project(s), what to do?!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Crafty Bastards 2014

Last weekend, the Crafty Bastards arts and crafts fair was held at Union Market in Washington DC.  The Washington City Paper has been putting it on for 11 years now, which is hard to believe because I remember going to the first one!  I went on Saturday, which was just such a gorgeous day here in DC.  The metro took me within blocks of this newly developed area of town. 

So many incredibly talented artists and offerings.  It was great to run into Laurie of Feel Good Yarn Co.  She's a finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made contest, and I hope you will go vote for her!  I'm kicking myself because she had the indigo-dyed SilverSpun yarn with her at the fair (that was created by Kismet Fiber Works), and I didn't buy it on the spot; now, it's sold out :-(  But, she promises more colors will be coming later in the season.

The other wonderful surprise was seeing a former student with a booth!  Emily has created Penny&Paul and is selling her funky and fun crocheted hats! Cutest little baby shoes too...

It was so much fun walking around and seeing all the amazingly creative products, very inspirational.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Project 3 is Underway!

Ok, so I think I said that Mom's sweater would be number 3, but go figure, I ordered the yarn for it (because of course I didn't have the right color already, so we're not even counting it as part of the year in making :-) and it's been delayed in shipment.  So, I got to thinking about what the next project(s) should be as I await books and yarn...

And this new book on crochet toys popped up in my email from Cooperative Press!

Fresh Designs Crochet: Toys

And look at that cute sheep on the cover!  You know I had to order it, especially since I've been trying to figure out what to do with some of Princess and Petunia's yarn.  The other toys in this 10-project booklet are pretty cool too, so I have the feeling I know what some holiday gifts are going to be!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Japanese Crochet

I've been busily working away on Project 2, which is turning out quite differently than I thought it would... 

I decided to knit the waist ribbing, then start crocheting from there on up. Now comes the challenge of armholes. 

But what does this have to do with Japanese crochet you ask?  Well, in an initial effort to find a lacy-er pattern for the body, I kept coming across some Japanese tops and sweaters and ended up ordering three books directly from Japan on eBay!  Now I don't think I'm breaking the rules -- I'm not supposed to be buying more yarn; I didn't say anything about not buying books :-).  Besides, I have a lot of DK weight yarn, and I have a feeling that these books are going to help me use it up. 

Mom also is reminding me that I owe her a vest (thankfully, she is slowly but surely recovering, and that memory sure is intact!) so reviving that plan is probably going to be Project 3. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Moultrie Slouch Hat (Project 1)

The slouch hat is done, and the pattern has been posted on Ravelry!  I ended up designing and making it during jury duty and figured the least I could do is name it after the courthouse (actually the courthouse is named for former Chief Judge H. Carl Moultrie).

I think it turned out pretty nice!  It works up so fast because the yarn is thick and I used an I hook.  I got to have some fun with a technique I recently learned -- how to make rows or rounds of half double crochet look like knitting (the burgundy band of "knitting" on the hat).  I've just posted a new video on YouTube demonstrating the technique.

Ok, so an update on Project 2 -- the yarn I chose is thicker than the original top, so I'm having to experiment with how I want to work the crochet part, but the knitted ribbing at the waist turned out great!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Project 2 is Underway!

But wait, you ask, what happened with Project 1?!  It is done, I just need to finalize the pattern and get it posted :-).  So, in the mean time, I want to keep things going.  Of course I'm trying to decide which one of the million ideas in my head I want to get started on.  I've been wanting to get into garment making as well as combining crochet with some knit, and this top of Mom's from way back when is my inspiration because I'd really love an updated version that's my own:

Now, to go pick out yarn that I already have...

I'm thinking this beautiful Rowan Softknit Cotton.  I've got 5 balls of it (who buys just 5 balls, what was I thinking?!  Mmmm, and different colors too.  I guess it was for a long-forgotten project).  Hopefully I will have enough or be able to hunt down some more. 

Ok, now I guess I should do a knit swatch and a crochet swatch to start figuring all of this out!  Oooo, I'm getting excited.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Project 1 -- Slouch Hat

Ok, I feel like I'm already cheating, but my first project in the year of making is a slouch hat for Looped Yarns Works for an intermediate crochet class and shop sample. A hat is a great next project for the beginner crocheter who's feeling comfortable making square and oblong things and is ready to learn how to work in the round. 

I'm using Cascade Yarns Cloud yarn because it's thick and works up fast; it's braided rather than plied so it's great for crocheting; and the colors and texture is just awesome for the fall. 

I haven't quite decided the hook to use (I'm leaning towards an H because I like a denser fabric, but an I is an option too), and I'm also deciding what techniques in addition to just working in the round I want to teach.  What's interesting about working in the round is that you can either not turn or turn at the end of each round, so I think I might play around with that technique in this hat. Ok, off to creating I go!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Year of Making

I've got a new friend on Facebook, and I've noticed in a number of her recent posts that she's got project pictures with the hashtag "yearofmaking".  She's also made references to using up her stash and resorting to dying her existing yarn because she has vowed not to buy any new yarn (I'm assuming for a year or until it's all used up).  She really got me thinking about the huge stash of yarn that I have and how I really should be doing something with it!

Thus, I am starting a Year of Making of my own.  From August 15, 2014 to August 15, 2015, I am going to try to use up as much of my existing yarn as possible.  I also want to use this time to learn some new techniques.  I hope to still keep designing my own patterns, but I also think it would be great if I actually use some of all of these crochet books and magazines I own to make some of the patterns that I bought them for in the first place.  Knitting might also have to factor in here somehow too.

So, who's with me?!  I plan on posting my progress on my Facebook page, and I really hope you'll join me and post as well.  I hope to start blogging on a regular basis again to share our experiences during this time, but the best laid plans...

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


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  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:
You may send your hats to:
Crochetville LLC
ATTN: Amy Shelton
103 Scarlet Oak Circle
Harvest, AL 35749
- See more at:
You may send your hats to:
Crochetville LLC
ATTN: Amy Shelton
103 Scarlet Oak Circle
Harvest, AL 35749
- See more at:
You may send your hats to:
Crochetville LLC
ATTN: Amy Shelton
103 Scarlet Oak Circle
Harvest, AL 35749
- See more at:

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

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 :-)

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Mother Petunia

Yes, Petunia has given birth!  Unfortunately, she had a really hard delivery, with both lambs having to be pulled.  The first one didn't make it.  But here is her lovely surviving lamb, which Petunia is mothering beautifully.  The vet said she should have a much better time of it next year. 

I'm awaiting Petunia's wool to be spun into yarn!  I decided to go with worsted weight this year and of course have no idea yet what I will make with it.  I've still got many skeins of Princess' yarn in chunky weight, and I think this Viviana Crocheted Vest would be the perfect project for it.  Any suggestions for more projects?!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Naked Petunia

My new sheep Petunia has been shorn!  Looks like she had quite the coat on her:

Just got word from (and photos courtesy of) Caroline Owens of Owens Farm that, despite the extreme cold followed by driving rain followed by howling winds, Petunia yielded about 4.5 lbs after skirting.  I've decided to once again let the mill turn the fleece into yarn for me, and I hope to have some worsted weight yarn on its way soon.

Poor Petunia, there's still quite a bit of winter left to go!

I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the bulky weight yarn I've still got from Princess.  I think this Viviana Crocheted Vest pattern would be an awesome use for it!  But, first, I've got to get started on, and finish, a baby blanket that I've been wanting to make from Melissa Leapman's "Flowers in a Row" afghan pattern, available on the Red Heart website.

Mama update:  She's doing better, though a bit of a set back when she ended up getting dehydrated, which seemed to lead to too low blood pressure, so off to the emergency room we went.  But, hopefully, she will be back in rehab early next week and back on the right track!

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Stroke

of genius? of luck?  No, unfortunately, a real one (funny that a word that usually indicates something good also stands for something really bad).  My mom had a stroke on December 15th, and it's been rough going since.  But, I think there has been progress, and she just got sent to rehab so hopefully I will have good news to report.

Unfortunately, I might not be posting as much as usual, but I hope you will stick with me because I will be striving for even better quality content this year.  Events like this do make one step back and think about the what-ifs and wants in life.  It's easy to say that one wants health, wealth, and happiness, but what does that really mean?!  Well, here are my definitions and goals for 2014 (no more resolutions, they don't last):

Health:  a silver lining to my stay with Mom in ICU was that I lost probably 5 to 10 pounds (don't really know, haven't had a chance to weigh myself, but my pants are loose!).  I feel better, and I feel as though my eating habits are returning to a good place for me (I was eating way too big portions of my husband's very tasty but rich food).  That's the good news; the bad is that I have not been getting any exercise.  I hope to address that as soon as I get back on some type of work/visitation/take care of Phyllis schedule.  I'm realizing how important it is that I figure out how to keep myself in good shape because I'm not going to be of any use to Mom if I don't (you hear this advice, but it takes a while to really sink in).

Wealth:  Money is a great thing to have, and I hope to figure out ways to become enhance my financial wealth of course, but although trite, money can't buy experiences and time.  I'm so fortunate to be wealthy with friends and colleagues who are allowing me the luxury of being able to spend time with Mom and to ensure that she's got the best patient advocate she can have and that she's getting what she needs to make the best recovery possible.  I really want 2014 to be about spending quality time and effort in making happy memories, it's really all we have.

Happiness:  I haven't been able to crochet during this time -- I really don't want to do it at the hospital and have it associated with this terrible experience because I love to crochet so much.  But I keep having great ideas pop into my head, which I jot down to think about later.  I think once I know that Mom is truly on the mend, I'll be able to get back to my creative endeavors.  This experience, though, has gotten me thinking about what activities truly make me happy and which ones should move further down my priority list.  Over the next several months I anticipate having to face these cold, hard questions, but I believe if I keep in mind another trite message -- you only live once (at least in this consciousness) -- I'll be able to figure out what I should be doing with my time and what will need to wait.

So, I hope all my readers have had a healthy, wealthy and happy start to 2014 and that it all continues throughout the year!  I hope to be blogging more frequently again soon.  Thank you for your thoughts and well wishes.