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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!