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Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I have always loved this time of year. I love to see the decorations up in stores and homes. I love to see the lights shining at night. I love to listen to Christmas music and watch Christmas movies. I love going to special Christmas services where you can join with others in singing about the wonder of Christ's birth.

As a child growing up I loved these things, too and I often hand made most of the gifts I gave to family and friends. Many of those gifts were crocheted, too. I would spend a lot of time brainstorming about what kind of gifts each person would like and how I would make it for them.

My mother likes the delicate lace from the Victorian era so I took to making many Christmas ornaments for her using thread crochet and the tiny steel hooks (that I inherited from my grandmother). I liked how the projects worked up quicker than a sweater or afghan and once finished with ribbon, glitter or bead embellishments, they turned out quite stunning.

This year I took out some of the lace crochet Christmas pattern booklets that I have and crocheted them with medium weight yarn and an H hook. I love the result and have plans to applique them on to Christmas gift bags.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Necklaces

I love to crochet jewelry because it can be such a quick project with great results. Here are some Christmas themed necklaces I made recently to wear to our Crochet Workshops. I never seem to tire of the Christmas color combinations - red, green, white and gold.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Handmade Gift Bags

My Grandmother has been doing recycling projects for as long as I can remember. One of her best ideas has been to make fabric gift bags for Christmas. She and my mom have made several over the past 20 years using all kinds of fabrics and sentimental family pieces (remnants from dresses handmade, doilies from great-grandmothers, fabric from wedding gowns, etc.)

I, of course, have enjoyed carrying on the tradition and not just at Christmastime. Making up the basic bag is easy - as easy as a pillow case. Then adding a crocheted motif with embellishments is the fun part! I love that the wrapping can be just as pretty as the gift inside and the recipient can use the gift bag to hold something special each time remembering the giver! :) (In our family we re-use all of the gift bags made each year so each year we have added enjoyment to our gift-giving as we handle the precious and beautiful "works of art" we have made - plus, we save a lot on wrapping paper and time!)

Here are some of the gift bags I have made recently. The snowflakes were for Christmastime last year, the Purple flower was for a friend's birthday (the bag was made out of an old pair of her pajama pants!) and the White Rose bag was made for a new bride (who's wedding colors were blue and white).

Christmas Crochet Workshop

We had a fun time last Saturday with a group of parents and their children at a local craft store. Everyone learned the basics of crochet and all the children walked out wearing their own Christmas necklace. Some parents even tried moving beyond the chain stitch and tried their hand at single crochet to make a candy cane ornament. (I used a variation of a free pattern I found on-line at www.PlanetJune.com.)Here are some photos of a variety of crocheted Christmas ornaments that we decorated the room with for inspiration!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Girls Pretty Poncho

Like the shrugs previously published on this blog, here is another project for little girls that we worked on in my latest Hooked on Crochet class (Gifts for Girls). This poncho was a hit since it looks so cute and can be completed very quickly. The pattern in from an old episode of Uncommon Threads. The women on the show explained the basic pattern that can be adjusted to fit any size. The shells are made from treble crochets and a large hook is used.

Friday, November 25, 2011

More Shrugs

Here is another shrug that I made for my daughter using the same pattern I created for my own coral shrug. Again I used Caron Simply Soft yarn in a turquoise color. It worked up quickly and looks great on my daughter.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cafe Crochet a Success!

After several days a power outage in our area, it was such a treat to snuggle down at our crochet workshop, Cafe Crochet. We had coffee, muffins, tea, hot cocoa and moms and daughters ready to spend the morning together while learning something new.

We learned interesting facts about crocheting, made some jewelry and a pocketbook accessory and searched for small scale "yarn bombs" throughout the building.

We hope to have more Cafe Crochet fun in the spring!

Here is one of the "yarn graffiti" examples that greeted everyone who walked into our art center that day.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Coral Shrug

I enjoy watching episodes of "Uncommon Threads" - They have many interesting guests with creative projects. One week they had a woman demonstrate how to make a shrug very simply and she included several variations on the basic pattern.

I used her idea and created my own design in a child size version for one of my daughters - it turned out so well that I tried one in my size shown here. It works up very quickly since I used a large hook (M) which gives the garment a nice drape and regular 4-ply worsted weight yarn (Caron -Simply Soft - also washes very well). For my returning students we will also be working on this project this week.

Friday, September 23, 2011

New Crochet Class

Our Fall Crochet Classes just started this week. I have named the class, "Hooked on Crochet - Gifts for Girls (and women). We will be making a lot of simple and quick projects that will make great gifts. Here are a few close-ups of some of the projects we'll be working on so you can see the stitch details.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More Backyard Yarn Grafitti

One afternoon this summer I had about an hour to rest and relax in my hammock. The weather was perfect - perfect for laying on a hammock and crocheting. I decided to create another "yarn bomb" for the many trees in our yard. I simply started by crocheting a rectangle with some dark blue Super Saver yarn. I just used the DC stitch. Then I worked in the lime green color around the middle of the row in a pattern to follow the shape of a cross. I used the color-change technique of bringing the new color in as you finish the previous stitch. Now I enjoy looking out my kitchen window to see my latest creation and I am reminded of the meaning and significance of the Cross.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blue Sparkle Embellishment

Again from Linda Permann's book I tried out a crocheted trim to add to a turquoise tank top I had bought. I changed a few little things with its construction but I liked the basic look of a crocheted necklace.
A brand new Hobby Lobby store just came to our area this summer and it has been a treat to peruse the different yarns brands that they carry. One of the yarns has a very pretty shimmer woven into the strands. It is acrylic and very easy to work with. I particularly liked the turquoise blue skein and thought it went perfectly with this bought top.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Summer Music

I have always wanted to learn how to play the guitar and finally, this summer I was able to take a class.
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience especially since the class I was in ended up being just me for the last few weeks. It was great to have the teacher all to myself and I really appreciated her extra time for me.
One week her ceiling fan kept turning the pages of my music and she dug around to find a clothespin for me. So, as a thank you, I made these 5 clips for her to use with her students when they need their music held in place. It didn't take long to crochet the shapes - I used a variety of stitches: sl st, sc, dc, hdc and even some tr - or glue them to basic clothespins.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Summer Fashion

I bought Linda Permann's book, "Crochet Adorned" and have been very inspired by her projects. She shows how you can use crochet to embellish bought garments. I have been doing this for years since I don't have as much time as I used to to crochet large items but she gave me some new ideas. I love how this technique makes ordinary garments "extra-ordinary" with a personal touch.

Here is a Pink Wavy Butterfly top I made for my daughter. Every year I like to make at least one outfit for each of my daughters. Since they grow so quickly, it keeps me on my toes to make them something before the season wanes and they are too big. One of the projects in Linda's book inspired me - she had a woman wearing a simple top with crocheted squares on top and a simple fabric bottom. I wanted to try a different design from the squares and had fun experimenting with the colors and "wave" pattern.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Starkindler Knot

At the end of March my daughters and I performed in a special fundraising concert called, "Love Notes for Veterans." We had a great time working on our songs and dances. One dance was to a celtic song by Michael Card called, "Starkindler". One of my daughters was the "star" dressed in an orangy-yellow costume with this knot on it. I made the costume and had the most fun adding this "Starkindler Knot" to the front.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ireland Forever

Now we are up to March and we all love St. Patrick's Day in our house. To me it is so much more than just an excuse to visit the local bar! We spend the whole month celebrating the Irish culture by watching special shows about Ireland, listening to Irish music and dancing all around the house.

I love the idea of recycle crochet - you can crochet almost anything that can act like a rope or thread. I have always wanted to try to crochet with strips of old T-shirts. So the "luck of the Irish" inspired me and off I went preparing my "tarn" (T-shirts turned into yarn). I think it took longer to cut each men's large T-shirt into one continuous 2" strip than it did to crochet this basket/bowl in the colors of the Irish flag. By using a large hook and this thick "tarn", it worked up very quickly.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Snowflakes and Knots

Vanna White has been a crocheter for a long time and now has her own line of yarn. Her line of "Glamour" yarn appealed to me because it is a finer yarn twisted with a metallic thread. In February I decided to design a winter necklace (combining crochet and knot techniques) - Celtic Knot Snowflake Necklace - and enter it into the 3rd Annual Vanna's Choice Contest.

I was very pleased to be notified in April that my necklace had made it into the Finalist Round! After sending in my actual project (earlier I had only sent a photo and short explanation) and waiting a couple of months, I recently found out that my necklace did not place in the Fashion Category. But that is okay with me - I am still glad to have been considered in the next round. They have now posted all the winners (there were many categories) - Check out all the great projects and be inspired! - www.vannaschoice.com

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hearts and Knots

Since I am going with the "holiday" theme . . . .in February I was inspired to create something for my daughters to wear that again combined a symbol of the holiday (Valentine's day) and a crocheted knot. I found a great heart knot on You Tube created by JT of "Tying It All Together" (TIAT). His tutorial videos are excellent and so is his first book, Decorative Fusion Knots. Here is my crocheted version of the heart knot that made a cute barrette for my daughters to wear to a Valentine's Day party.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Christmas in July

Christmas and many other holidays always inspire me to craft and create. This past Christmas my family and I went to see an Irish traditional folk band - "Cherish the Ladies". I wanted to go wearing something festive and celtic so I designed and knotted this necklace - Christmas Celtic Knot Necklace. I used metallic cording, glass beads and wire and wore it with a plain light green sweater (as seen in the photo) so my creation was "center stage".

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

I love the fourth of July. It's the official start to summer and a great day to appreciate our freedom. It's also a time to hear children playing in pools and a time to smell barbecues cooking. It's a time to hear oohs and ahhs during the fireworks and a time to smell the sweet scent of fresh cut grass. It's a time to relax with family and stay outside all day. And it's a time to . . . . . .
add yarn graffiti to your property!

All across the world crocheters and knitters are adding yarn creations to their local landscape - sometimes at night and in secret and sometimes when commissioned by an area agency. The contrast of the soft textures of yarn and the hard edges of buildings makes one stop and stare and hopefully appreciate it's unexpected beauty and warmth. This creative use of yarn is called "yarn bombing" or "yarn graffiti". It intrigues me and has gotten my mind going with all sorts of neat ideas.

Here are a few of my ideas realized in honor of this fourth of July and in honor of the men and women who are working hard apart from their families and friends to keep us safe and free.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gifts Edition - Hooked on Crochet class - Photos posted!

Photos of the projects for Weeks 2-5 are now posted.
Simply click on the last page listed to the left.
Looking forward to your comments! :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Spring Class Went Well

Now it is officially summer and I am just getting to my blogposts!
"Hooked on Crochet - Gifts Edition," our spring class went very well. It was full of new crocheters and returning students. We completed a variety of projects from bags to shawls to granny squares. The photos will be posted soon on the class project page. Next semester we will work on Gifts for Girls (and Women).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Squares Made with Care

We finished our blanket of squares in November and it turned out beautifully. We decided to crochet a border around each square in a light tan color which helped pull all the colors together. We even put a heart square in the very middle. Our class is held across the street from a Senior Center so we decided to donate it to them. They hung our blanket in their main hall and sold raffle tickets for it. In December one of their residents won the blanket and the whole center raised $60 from the raffle proceeds! It has been cold and snowy lately so I hope the blanket has been keeping the winner warm.