Monday, February 9, 2015

Impressive Intarsia Crochet

I am totally impressed with this Intarsia afghan of the American Sign (AMSLANG) Alphabet.  What a labor of love!  What a time consuming project!

I found this via a rather roundabout route.  Turns out the pattern is available on Ravelry where you can download it for a very reasonable fee.  There are also the very helpful photos in the Projects section there.  Very inspiring!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Crochet + Beads

A noncrocheting friend sent a link to this cool wallhanging.  I love crochet.  I love buttons.  Everyone needs wall art, right?  This combines so many great arts.  The designer clearly took the flowers in the sheets as inspiration and repeated the colors in the wallhanging.  I can think of all kinds of ways to use this idea. There's a handy tutorial at the site and plenty of other bright, cheerful uses of crochet and beads.

Then, I found this happy wallhanging for sale at etsy.  RoseJasmine has created this and similar crochet pieces for the wall.  They are well worth her asking price - as those of us who crochet know how much time and effort goes into designing and crocheting something unique - but might be reproducible with ideas inside your own head.  I know I have some ideas!

One place I always think to use this sort of crochet whimsy is in a nursery, especially for the area above the crib.  But, we mustn't limit ourselves to baby.  RoseJasmine's piece could easily be used as a growth chart if it's hung low enough to write those vital height measurements as kid grows up.  If you're worried about your paint, use a strip of masking tape or that blue painter's tape that won't mar your walls.

If combining crochet with buttons works for you, check out the designs Kathryn has gathered at
Crochet Concupiscence.  Some of them are amazing!

If you 'bing' crochet and beads or crochet with beads, you'll find many, many wonderful designs, from wearables to home dec to things for baby.  I have a huge collection of buttons, gathered over many years.  I have also been known to purchase a dress or blouse at a thrift store just to scrounge the buttons.  I find them to be tiny artistic treasures, full of inspiration, each with its own tale to tell.

How will you combine buttons with your crochet?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Chunky Crochet The Sashay(free) Way

I have discovered that I am NOT a fan of those ruffle yarns - you know, the ones that are scrunched up on the skein then you stretch them out and crochet along one edge to create a scarf or ruffle?  The scarves made with them are lovely but working with these yarns is not - for me.

So, what am I to do when I encounter a whole bin of these pretty colors of ruffle yarn for .97 each?  I hummed and hawed for a few minutes.  Then, I decided that I could just forget the ruffly use for them and treat the yarn as super chunky and work with it that way.  So, there were 4 colors available, but I went home without the blue since I can only braid, without watching a tutorial, 3 strands at a time.  The two purple-reds and one pearl silver skein.

I used a 25.00 mm wooden hook that I love but seldom have occasion to use.  I simply chained the entire length of each skein and secured the end with twist ties so I wouldn't lose the stitches.  Chaining all three skeins took me less than an hour.  Then began the hard part - braiding a long length of stretchy, wiggly, chunky yarn.

To braid them, I folded each length in half and secured the folded ends with a huge safety pin to the arm of a sofa.  That left me with 6 strands of chained yarn to work with.  I treated them as though there were only three and went to work.  The braiding process took me another hour.

Once all the braiding was done, I wound up with three different lengths of chained yarns.  So, I cut the strands to the same size and tied off the ends all together.  I used a smaller hook to weave in the loose ends and used my petite daughter as my model.  Trust me, she's very pretty.  Since this scarf is not drab, it is not to my daughter's liking, so someone else will receive it as a gift.  I do like the way it looks, but it's not much my style as it has sequins in it.  I don't wear drab, but daughter and I do share a dislike for glitz in our wardrobes.

So, you don't actually need a pattern to make this.  I've given you the instructions.  I found this yarn in a bin at Joann's but I'm sure they're on sale all over the place or you may already have some in your own stash.  If you have leftovers like I did, you can even make a second, smaller scarf as a bonus. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

My Favorite Doily

 This is my most favorite doily pattern ever and it's finally back online, free for everyone.  Sheila of Sheila's Schnauzies uses her crochet designs to fund her Schnauzer rescue efforts.  She dog sits for friends as well as fosters Schnauzers and other dogs til they find their forever homes.  You should check out all that Sheila offers.  She's got free patterns, patterns and finished objects for sale.  And, she's a darn nice gal I've gotten to know quite well online over the years.

This particular pattern was MIA from the internet for a long time.  Now, it's back!  My version is the one pictured here.  It's not been blocked as I prefer the softer look, feeling that it more closely resembles the 'real thing'.  You can see the official version made by Sheila at her site right here.

Sheila has a contest on her blog right now.  Really easy to enter.  She just wants suggestions for the flower around which to design her next doily.  So, get yourself over to her blog, enter the contest (we all have favorite flowers, don't we?), and take a look around to see all her goodies.

Here's the raw link to Sheila's site:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Crochet Hearts Rock!

I'm SURE it makes perfect sense for most people that you'd use pretty yearn and this delicate heart design to cover soap, but my mind went immediately to - rocks!  I love river rocks.  They are so smooth, come in such a variety of colors, and can be purchased for a few cents or even found in a creek bed for free (with the proper permission, of course).

If you aren't familiar with river rocks or don't have a creek bed near you, they look like these.
The rocks in this image are polished but you can buy them unpolished (my preference).  The ones in this image come from Home Depot but you can find them at landscaping and hardware stores everywhere.

Embellished with crochet designs like the pretty hearts above, with beads and buttons, simple, inexpensive river rocks can become prized decor items, paper weights, and good luck charms.  A certain neurologist of my acquaintance is also a fan of such rocks and I gifted her with a couple I had decorated with jeweler's wire and beads for use as paper weights.

I like the idea of these sweet little hearts.  If you give one to your husband for his desk at work or his lunchbox, he will think of you at least once every day!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Scrap Cochet Worth Mentioning

Got scraps?  I believe everyone who crochets or knits has scraps and partial skeins of yarns - sometimes entire 'orphan' skeins.  This little site has some cute ideas, like the picture above, for making good use of those scraps.  I'm sure these ideas will trigger greater creativity with my readers.  Let us know what you do with your scraps, please!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Tunisian Shawls For All - Crochet

Sharon Silverman has a new book out for us.  This one is Tunisian Shawls and contains eight new designs that are bound to please.  If you've never tried your hand at Tunisian crochet, a shawl is just the right size for your first project.  If you're an experienced Tunisian crocheter, you'll find some fresh designs to tempt you.

The format I have seen this book in is an Ebook.  I've never really been impressed with Ebooks before, but this one is easier to navigate and has excellent photography.  The photos of Tunisian detail will be helpful to all.  The shawl choices also range from something very simple for a beginner to more advanced projects for now or later, depending on your skill level.

I'm in love with the Autumn Embrace which Silverman shows worked up in a tweedy bulky yarn - just my style.  For the traditionalist the Expanding Vees will be just the ticket.  If you want to tackle something a bit different, check out the Cables And Hearts, a delicate looking combination of stitches.  For a real challenge (at least for me) the Fair Isle Winter Capelet will keep you inspired.

Another plus in this book is Silverman's use of readily available yarns.  There are no $40/skein yarns pictured, leading to some degree of disappointment when the crocheter chooses a more mundane yarn for the 'real' object.  Paton, LB, and RH are known to most crocheters.  Of course, should we choose a high end yarn to work up a project, we won't be disappointed!

There is also a handy glossary of Tunisian stitches, well photographed, to guide us.  This handy format and lovely collection of designs will have us all itching to grab Tunisian hook and yarn to make a special shawl for ourselves or for a gift.

Grab your copy of the book at the Leisure Arts site , at or at your local crochet book source.