1.27.2011

Crochet Daffodils

This creation is a birthday gift for one of my girls.  I started crocheting the daffodils about a year ago from some yarn that Mr AC gave me for Christmas 2009.  I found this pattern in Crochet Today, Jul/Aug 2009.  It's called "Always-Blooming Bouquet" by Linda Permann.  There are two varieties of flowers in this pattern, but I only made the daffodils.  They turned out so cute!  So, I made the crocheted portion of the flowers a loooooong time ago, but never did anything else with them until a couple weeks ago, when my daughter told me that her room wasn't fancy and she wanted things to decorate it with.  Well, since her birthday was coming up, I decided to finally finish this project for her room.  I added the wires and wrapped them in green yarn for the stem, and found the pink and green butterflies on floral wire, as well as the beaded accent piece at Hobby Lobby.  I used a chipboard fruit snack box and some pretty paper, also from Hobby Lobby, and Mod Podge to make the box.  I used the Mod Podge to glue the paper to the box, and than to coat the paper to make it a bit shiny.  I put a piece of styrofoam in the bottom to poke the stems into, and trimmed them down to the length I wanted.  I even packed a bit of fiber-fill around the stems inside the box to hold everything in place.  Then I used four thumbtacks inside the box, poking through the box and into the wall to hang it up.  You could make this even more kid-friendly by hanging it up with some wide sticky-back velcro.  My daughter loves it, and I do too! 

I'm still working on a lengthy design project that has been ongoing since October or November, I forget.  I'm getting close though.  I'm hoping to finish it by the end of February, then I already have another design lined up that will fit one of my girls. (hint)

Happy crafting!  Please leave comments, I love to know what you think about my projects!

April :)

1.24.2011

Crochet Liberation Front Flamie Award Nominations

Hello readers!  How's your Monday going?  I wanted to inform all of you today about an exciting time of year in crochet circles.  There is an organization called The Crochet Liberation Front (CLF).  The idea of this group if for crocheters to be unapologetic about their love of crochet in the face of knitters that might look down on our craft.  We should not be ashamed, or embarrassed about our love of crochet.  Crochet proudly in public and "raise your hooks" high with pride.  This time of year you can nominate your favorite designers, books, magazines, blogs, etc. for the annual Flamie Awards given by the CLF for the best in the crochet world.  You can contribute your nominations on CLF Award Nomination Ravelry group (click to go there).  You can also find a Crochet Liberation Front Ravelry group that is just a basic group, and not specifically related to the Flamie Awards here, and their website here.  I encourage you to make your voice heard in those nominations, and again in a few months when the voting takes place. 

I'll be putting together a blog post in a couple days about a crochet project I finished this past week.  Until then, happy crocheting and nominating!

April :)

1.20.2011

New Pattern - Sierra Scarf




Here are some pictures of my newest design - "Sierra Scarf".  The yarn is Wisdom Yarns Limerick color#31901 (autumn colors).  There are 175 yds/skein, and I used about 3.5, so it takes around 613 yds of yarn.  This is weight category 3/Light (frequently called "sport" or "dk").  It is 100% Superwash Merino Wool.  The yarn doesn't feel extremely soft on the skein, but it was comfortable to wear, however if you are extremely sensitive to wool itch, you might want a different yarn.  The colors turned out beautifully.  The pattern is available in my Etsy shop and my Ravelry pattern store.

I bought this yarn at the December "Knit-in" at my LYS (where I rebel and crochet all night).  I won a gift card.  Everyone brings food for dinner and then we all vote on our favorite dish, then the top 3 win gift cards.  So, I won a gift card for the fabulous brownies I made, and used that to pay for part of the purchase of this yarn.  I had in mind to design a shawl with it.  When I started working on it the colors were striping in a way that just really didn't look nice at all.  I thought I might go and exchange the rest for a different yarn, but then I came up with the idea for this scarf and tried it in this yarn.  In this pattern, the colors came together beautifully!  My original idea was that the layers of ruffles would lay flat.  While working on the first row of fans, it was clear that I had not skipped enough chains between my stitches to get them to lie flat, because they were ruffling.  I thought it looked really neat though, so I kept going with it, and I love the result!  So, this lovely ruffly scarf was born from a "mistake".  Lucky for all of us, I know a good mistake when I see one ;).

What craft "mistakes" have you made that turned out great in the end?

Happy crafting!

April :)

1.12.2011

Goofing Off


This is a bag that I decided to make for Princess to carry her ballet and tap shoes when she goes to her new dance class.  It is from a pattern called "Swirling Bag" by Kathy Merrick that is in Interweave Crochet, Fall 2009.  It was a book excerpt from the book "Crocheted Gifts".  It's a neat-looking swirly drawstring bag, that I have instead fashioned into a purse.  I plan to close it with a zipper, and have gathered two sides together and tied them with bows to make a flat opening just right for the zipper.  Princess is pretty excited about it.  I've made the whole thing with some of the random yarns from my "yarny inheritance" and my Jimbo size 7 crochet hook
I LOVE this hook!  This is actually the first project I've used it on.  Not many projects call for a size 7, so I don't have reason to use it often, but I wanted to use it for this project.  I have so enjoyed it's smoothness and the bulkier-than-usual handle, which is easier on my hands.  I am very tempted to buy another Jimbo hook, but I'm supposed to be saving up all my money for the Knit and Crochet Show coming up in Minneapolis this summer. 

I also took some time off from "work" to make some flower hairclips for my younger sister.  She told me sometime before Christmas that she would like some flower hairclips.  I didn't get around to making them until Sunday.  I had her choose yarns from my scraps and I made the flowers that night from Lionbrand's pattern, Flower Hair Accessories.
The pattern is pretty good.  I didn't like that it had you work in a continuous spiral instead of joining the rounds.  When you work these in a spiral there is one petal that sticks out funny at the end of the flower.  If you joined the rounds I think it wouldn't stick out like that.  Of course, I could have just altered them, but you know, sometimes it's nice to just do stress-free crochet that doesn't require thinking.  Now if I could just find my glue gun I could finish these...

Also, I realized that I never put up a post about my Chain Reaction Afghan block, "Woven Threads" that was also in Interweave Crochet, Winter 2010 along with my Spring Creek Jumper.  Here is a picture of the original block I made:
Here is a pictures of the block as it was redone by Interweave in their color pallet

The yarns were a little different in size which made them have to redo their numbers a bit and it made the strips a bit wider.  I like the color pallet they used, it's interesting.  I think the final afghan will be really beautiful once they put all the squares together.

When I started thinking about the afghan square I would make for this contest my first thought was to make a 12" x 12" square in "fur" stitch, which has little loops sticking out all over one side of it, to look like grass.  Then to applique flowers in the aqua, gold, red, and orange that you see in the square I did make.  I began making it, but just wasn't feeling very excited about it.  So, this idea of long strips woven together came to me and I went with it.  I loved how it turned out.  It came it 3rd place in the member voting, so I think others must have liked it a lot too.  I used Naturally Caron Country for mine.  I'm not sure what yarn Interweave used for theirs. 

I've noticed something about myself and my crochet style recently.  In this project, the Spring Creek Jumper, the Bella Dress, and other projects you haven't seen yet, that I have a thing for working on both sides of the foundation chain.  I do that a lot.  I don't think I set out to do it on purpose, but it is a technique that I like.  It can take out a seam in some places, and allow you to change direction in your work, and provide symmetry by making the same thing on both sides of the chain.  What are your favorite crochet techniques?

I'd love to hear about your crochet projects too, or your comments on mine!

Happy crafting!

April :)

1.06.2011

Spring Creek Jumper Pleats

A few people have commented on the blog asking for help with Round 1 of the skirt for the Spring Creek Jumper found in Interweave Crochet, Winter 2010.  This round is where you set up the pleats that you see in both the front and back of the Spring Creek Jumper.  It was a little tricky to figure out a good way to write the instructions for this round, so I'm sure that it could be a little tricky reading it.  The important thing to remember is that when you turn your work mid-round, what was the front becomes the back, and what was the back becomes the front.
This round begins with a certain number of stitches that you work in hdc, then the cable, then a certain number of stitches also worked in plain hdc. 

So, at this point we're ready to start the "hdc flo in next 5 sts".  As you can see, each stitch has two loops that make a sideways "V".  I've turned the swatch on its side here so that you can see them, but when the swatch is upright one of the loops is the front loop and the other is the back loop.  "flo" means "front loop only" so...
...you are going to work the next 5 hdc in only the front loop of the stitch below them.
When you finish those five, you can turn the swatch forward slightly and see the 5 back loops that you didn't work into on the back at the bottom of the 5 stitches you just worked, as in the picture above.

At this point you "turn work" so that you are ready to work into the unworked loop of the stitches you just worked into.  Now that you've turned your work, they are the front loop, whereas they were the back loop before. 
So, the instructions say to "hdc flo in 5 sts just worked".  The above picture is showing the hook inserted into the first front loop to work the hdc. 
And this is how the swatch looks from the top after you work those 5 stitches.

Then the instruction says to "turn work, hdc blo in 5 sts just worked by working in same lp and just to the left of last 5 sts worked".  When you turn this time, the 5 loops you just worked into are now the back loop again, so when the instruction says "hdc blo" that means you are working into the exact same loop you just did, so it says "working in same lp and just to the left of last 5 sts...".  Look at the bottom of the last 5 stitches you worked and find the loop that you worked them into.  Then insert your hook front to back and just to the left of the previous stitch into the same loop,  You will probably need to have your swatch laying flat with the wrong side up, or even turned sideways as in the picture above to get at that loop the right way.

When you finish this 3rd set of 5 stitches your swatch has a Z-shape when looked at from the top.  Congrats!  You're half-way through the pleat!  The rest of it is going to be just like this in reverse. 

So, we hdc blo in the next 5 stitches.

And when we finish that, it looks like this.  You can see the unworked front loops on the front of the swatch.

Then, you turn your work, and work into the same loops as the last 5 stitches, again, this is easier to get at when your swatch is flat, this time with the right side up, or turned sideways like this.  Technically, since we have turned our work this loop is now the front loop rather than the back loop, so this is why the instruction says "hdc flo in same lp and just to the left of last 5 sts worked".  Find the loop you worked into at the bottom of the last 5 stitches you worked and insert your hook from the wrong side of the fabric to the right side and just to the left of the previous stitch worked into it.

When you finish that step, the top of your swatch should look like the picture above.

Now we "turn work" so that it looks like the picture above.

The above picture shows my hook inserted into the front loop, ready to work an hdc flo where the instruction says "hdc flo in first 5 sts".  After you work those 5 stitches you finish off this section by working a specified number of stitches as regular hdc in both loops of the stitch under it.
It looks like this from the right side of the fabric.
And like this from the working edge of the fabric.  In the next few rounds of the jumper you will have to turn your work a bit as you work across the tops of the stitches in order, but after a few rounds the pleated part of the fabric will relax out and you'll just be working round after round of the same thing for the specified number of rounds -- smooth sailing!

As you can see, I couldn't have put that lengthy of an explanation into typical abbreviated pattern language.  I hope that this helps everyone through that round smoothly.  I'm always happy to help, so leave a comment if you still have an unanswered question.  By the way, how do you like my new therapeutic gloves?  I just got this pair a few days ago because I lost track of the pair I already have.  Also, notice that band-aid on my left index finger?  I tried to cut off the end of my finger a few days ago <wink>.  The cut happens to be right where my yarn goes over my index finger, so I have to where a band-aid to crochet anything.  This cut was fairly deep and really hurts!  Thank goodness I didn't manage to cut it off.  It would have been very difficult to crochet without that portion of finger.  As always, I would love to hear from you!

Happy crafting!

April :)