Archive for the ‘crochet’ Category

Yarn bombing!

Preparations for the Fiber Arts Festival continue apace! Hehe, I’ve always wanted to use that phrase, it’s fun. For the Festival we decorate the park with some yarn bombing, and this year my mom had the idea to put afghans up on the fence that is around the park. You know, for publicity and stuff. So today my brother and I went out and helped her put up the afghans, along with some crocheted sleeves on a few trees and poles. And now, pictures of the yarn bombing!

Advertisements

Abq FAF Embroidery and Crochet exhibits

For some reason I don’t really feel like writing much today, but I will share more pictures with you, cause I’m sure you’re eager to see them. The format for these is the same as the last post, if the label for the piece is not visible/legible in the original picture, then there is a close-up of the label following the picture, to make sure everybody gets credit for their work.

 

The embroidery exhibit appeared to have been a competition with several categories along the lines of non-original designs, original designs, and colcha embroidery. I think the categories were a bit more complex than that, but that’s really the salient information. If I didn’t mention it before, each exhibit was put together by the appropriate guild in Albuquerque, so the formats of the exhibits varied a little bit, as did the sizes of course.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I will admit that I generally don’t find crochet as interesting as other techniques. I don’t know what it is, it just tends to seem boring to me, and I don’t find basic crochet stitches to be very visually appealing. That being said, I found some really beautiful pieces in the crochet exhibit that just struck me. So it seems I just haven’t been looking at the right crochet stuff.

Mother’s Day

A little while after I started actually writing here again, after the crazy year of craziness (yes, I totally just called it that), one of the blogs I read posted a sort of “how to blog better” list of tips for new bloggers. One of those tips was to make a list of 100 (I think, don’t remember exact number) post topics to write about on your blog so that you’re never trying to come up with something when you want to post. Thinking this sounded like a great idea, but not expecting to come up with quite that many ideas, I started making a list of things I could post about when I didn’t have a current project to post, and promptly wrote down about 5 things. That was rather disappointing, but I did manage to expand the list to 15 or 20 items, and still add to it occasionally as ideas occur to me. I mention this because one of the topics I came up with was my mother. I talk about my mom a lot when I talk about my crafting, which makes sense to me for reasons I’ll go into in a moment, and it occurred to me that I could easily write a whole post on why she is so awesome, and of course including a bit about the crafting she does. So I’ve been thinking about that post in the back of my mind and when I realized Mother’s Day was coming up (and that I didn’t have a present for her, although I hope I’ve gotten her a card by the time I post this) and that would be just the perfect time to tell you all about my mom and the wonderful effect she has on my life.

In terms of crafting, I think of my mom primarily as a quilter as, I think, do most people who know her. Not surprisingly then, she got me started sewing at a young age, in fact I don’t even remember when she taught me to sew. But I do know that in kindergarten we had a place where we could sew little pieces of fabric together and I was already ahead of everybody else in that department, so it was probably before that. Her workroom is on the third floor of my parents’ house (yes it has a third floor, it’s a pretty big house) and I’ve loved going up there as long as I can remember. She’s got shelves of fabric on the walls in lots of different colors, and boxes of all kinds of crafting stuff, and when I was a kid I loved to look at it all and always wanted to play with it, which I think I did sometimes. Of course, half the fun of her workroom is seeing what project she’s currently working on, cause she does some awesome stuff. (She’s gonna kill me for some of these pictures…but they’re some of the stuff I love about her workroom and growing up in a house surrounded by her art)

I think I must have spent a lot of time bugging her in her workroom cause that’s how my first quilt got made, she wanted me to leave her alone enough for her to work, and I remember her teaching me to embroider because I was hanging out there with her and I needed something to do. But her teaching me new techniques, and encouraging me to learn them on my own, definitely didn’t stop when I got older and didn’t spend as much time in her workroom anymore. When I first learned to knit I was only taught the knit stitch, so I was doing lots of garter stitch scarves (garter stitch is what you get when you just knit) and was convinced I couldn’t do anything else unless I had somebody to teach my how to purl (which is the only other stitch in knitting). At that point I didn’t have anybody to teach me because I didn’t know any other knitters, and my mom just kept telling me to try it cause I could figure out how to purl by myself. And what do you know, it worked! And she even let me teach her to knit when I was so excited about knitting that I would have even tried to teach the dog to knit if he’d had thumbs, even though she didn’t enjoy knitting at all and didn’t really want to learn. But my favorite story of her encouraging me to try different crafts is when she got me started on needle felting. It was actually a Christmas present, I had a box from her and I opened it up and it was several balls of roving and this tool for a technique I had never even heard of before. She said she had heard a lot about it and thought I would like it, so when she saw the tool and wool at Hobby Lobby she got them for me so I could try it. Now I think plenty of people would look at that gift and be disappointed, but I was so excited, and I know that it never even occurred to my mom that I wouldn’t like it, because she would have loved a present like that too. And I just love how we can be on the same wavelength with crafting stuff like that so well.

I say my mom is a quilter, and she definitely is, but that’s not all she does, and she doesn’t really do your traditional bed quilts. She makes art quilts, and art not-quilts (I have no idea what else to call them), that are some of the coolest pieces I have ever seen. She just sits down to play with a piece of fabric, often that she has hand-dyed herself, and maybe some beads or some embroidery thread and ends up with this amazing piece of art, and I just don’t know how she does it. She will still do more traditional quilts if she has a reason to, she made me a quilt in college, cause I asked her to, that I just love, but mostly she does the art quilts, I think she gets bored with the traditional patterns. And she does so much other fiber crafting. A few years ago she got interested in natural dying and spent the next couple years experimenting with all kinds of things. She ordered indigo powder and thought about trying to grow indigo of her own, but decided it wouldn’t work, she tried growing woad to dye with, she collected hundreds (maybe thousands) of marigolds from her friends with gardens to use for dying, she used the rhubarb from the backyard, and I think she even tried dying with the vines that grow on my parents’ house. It was so fun to see the results, even though lots of them ended up being different shades of browns and yellows, and it was even better to see her get so excited about it! Her excitement for crafting is just contagious. Although my dad wasn’t real crazy about all the natural dying, boiling all the plants and stuff tends to smell pretty terrible and stunk up their whole house, but he’s gotten used to not really having any say when my mom gets started on fiber stuff.

She learned to crochet when she was younger, and recently she started crocheting again. I’m  not sure what sparked her interest again, but I do know one of the things she started doing with crochet pretty quickly is yarn bombing. She has made lots of different crocheted sleeves for the lamp post outside their house, usually changing them with the season or holidays, and has made a couple for friends as well. She’s made sleeves for all the lamp posts on their block that she’s going to put up for the local marathon this year, because it goes right past their house. Every sleeve is different, and many are quite fancy looking, including some crocheted flowers she’s sewn onto them. For a while she was making a lot of crochet flowers and leaves from a book she had gotten, one of which I wore in my hair at my college graduation, and which she’s added on to random other things she’s made.

She does, and has tried, so many other fiber things I could go on and on about it all, and that’s just the stuff I’ve seen her do, but I think the best part of it all is that she shares, and wants to share, all her crafting with other people. She’s part of a group of quilters who get together once and month to share what they’re doing and create challenges for themselves to try new things. She gets together with her friends all the time to try new things or share the new techniques she’s been playing with. She is always happy to show me how to do stuff, and is the first place I think to go when I want to try some new technique or do something weird with a technique I know, and she has always been happy to teach my friends too. She teases me sometimes about how I wanted to teach everyone to knit when I first learned, but I think I got that urge to share from her. But I think the biggest way she shared her love of fiber is by starting the Fiber Arts Festival in our home town 4 or 5 years ago (I honestly don’t remember how long it’s been now!). The website has a much better description than I can give you here, but it’s basically a place for fiber artists to get together and play with fiber, while sharing the techniques they love and learning new ones. And of course there’s a little shopping too. Sometimes I look at it and can’t believe that my mom started something that’s gotten so big, it just feels surreal, but I love it.

So happy Mother’s Day mom, I love you, and if I haven’t made you tear-up a bit with the post, I’ll try harder next year ;-). And since I should have tried looking at my mom’s facebook pictures before I was most of the way through this post, here are some more pictures of her stuff that I found on her facebook, quite a few of which I had never even seen before. She is just full of surprises even after I’ve know her for 23 years (or maybe 20 that I really remember).

Since I couldn’t post a link in the picture caption, here‘s a link to the Periodic Table project from the picture.

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week

I discovered on one of the blogs I follow that it is Knitting and Crochet Blog week, where there is a theme/prompt for a post for each day this week, and I’ve decided to participate. You can find the details over at Eskemimi Makes, if you’re interested, or just read my posts this week and enjoy!

 

Today I am supposed to choose a house for the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, and explain my crafting style/outlook and why I chose that house. The choices are:

The House of Bee: Bees are busy and industrious, but can flit from one interesting project to the next as bright and shiny things capture their interest.

The House of Manatee: Manatees are gentle, calm and cuddly. Relaxed and unflashy they represent the comfort and soft side of knitting and crochet.

The House of Monkey: Intelligent and with a fun loving side, Monkeys like to be challenged with every project presenting them with something new and interesting.

The House of Peacock: Peacocks take something good and make it brilliant. Buttons, embellishments and a bit of sparkle prove that perfection lies in the details – like a Peacock’s Tail.

I had a hard time choosing between the House of the Bee, because I do tend to jump around between projects, and the house of the Monkey, because I love a challenge. But I decided on the House of the Monkey.

I went with the House of the Monkey because my favorite part of all the crafting I do is trying new things and giving myself challenges. I figure that’s actually why I jump between projects so much, one challenge gets boring, or easy because I’ve gotten good, and I move on to the next. I think that’s why I tend to do so many different crafting techniques as well; I get intrigued by the challenge and the newness and get excited to try it. But of course I refuse to admit that the only reason I’m trying something is because it’s new so I purposely get deep into it and stick with it, and inevitably discover more challenges in it. Of course sometimes I want easy and familiar so I start a simple project, but those are the projects that rarely get finished, or that take me years to finish.

Stick around all week for some fun, silly, and informative posts.

So how about you? What’s your crafting style?

Crocheted Chess Set

My life has been quite busy lately so I haven’t had much time for projects. And now I’m applying for grad schools, so I expect life will continue to be busy, but I will try to update as I can. And because I don’t have any new projects finished today’s post is about an older one.

In college I took a class called Fiber Design Studio. Among many other projects we had to do a crochet project after we learned to crochet in the class. I went online and found a pattern for a checkers set that was both the board and the pieces and I made that (I would link to the pattern but I lost track of that long ago, sorry). Later for the same class we had to design our own pattern so I decided I would make up chess pieces for the checker board, cause I like to be ambitious and it didn’t occur to me that maybe that was a bit much for my second ever crochet project. But they turned out quite well.

IMG_2349

That’s the finished set at the Fiber Arts Festival a couple years ago, I put it in the exhibit. If you can read the sign in front of it there, the materials are actually listed wrong, the yarn is acrylic not wool so there is no wool in it. My mom made the sign and didn’t know that, she just assumed it was wool. You can see a bit in the picture that all the classic pieces are there in as close to classic shapes as I could get them. The knight was the most difficult because I was very definitive about wanting it to be shaped like a horse head, but I did it! The rook is also castle shaped with a flared out bit at the top and a flat top, couldn’t get any crenelations on it though. The king and queen are a little hard to tell apart, especially in this picture, but I gave the king a full crown with treble crochets and the queen has more of a tiara made out of a shell stitch at the front. I’ve thought about sewing beads on to highlight the crowns more but never got around to it. I also wrote down the patterns as I went (which is good cause I had to make multiples of each piece) and have typed out those patterns.I’ll post a copy of the patterns here and you are welcome to use them as long as you don’t claim them as your own.

The patterns are not very carefully written and will require some knowledge of crochet and how the structure of crochet works in order to use them. I may in the future go back and edit the patterns to be a bit more user friendly but since I don’t plan to sell the patterns and I can understand them just fine myself, I don’t really feel the need to do that. All of the patterns work from the bottom up and end up with an open bottom on the piece. I have experimented with different ways of closing the bottom including just improvising the stitches until the whole bottom is covered and using the same piece that is on the top of the rook and attaching it to the bottom of the pieces. None of them have been really satisfactory so I would say if you make them at all you should experiment yourself and see what you come up with. If you figure out a better way to close the bottoms of the pieces I would love to hear about it!

Bishop

Ch 12, join

Ch 1, Sc 4 rounds

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Sc 1 round

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Sc 1 round

Increase every 3rd stitch for 2 rounds

Sc 1 round

Decrease every 3rd for 1 round

Sc 1 round

Decrease every 3rd for 1 round

Decrease every other for 1 round

Increase every stitch for 1 round

Sc 1 round

Decrease every stitch until too few to continue

King

Ch 14, join

Sc 5 rounds

Decrease every 4th stitch for 1 round

Sc 2 rounds

Decrease every 4th stitch for 1 round

Sc 1 round

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Sc 2 rounds

Inc every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Decrease every stitch until top is closed

Crown: Dc ring around top of head

Queen

Ch 14, join

Sc 4 rounds

Decrease every 4th stitch for 1 round

Sc 1 round

Decrease every 4th stitch for 1 round

Sc 1 round

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Sc 2 rounds

Inc every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Decrease every stitch until top is closed

Crown: Make a shell towards top of the head

Pawn

Ch 10, join

Sc 3 rounds

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Sc 1 round

Decrease every 4th stitch for 1 round

Increase every 3rd stitch for 2 rounds

Sc 1 round

Decrease every 3rd stitch until top is closed

Knight

Ch 12, join

Sc 4 rounds

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Sc 2 rounds

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Sc 2 rounds

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Ch 1 and turn, Sc 2, increase 1 each in next 2 stitches, Sc 2

Turn, Sl. St., Ch 1, Sc 6

Ch 1 and turn Sc 6

Turn Sl. St., Ch 1, Sc 2, increase 1, Sc 2

Turn, Sl. St. 2, Sc 3

Ch 1 and turn, Sc 3

Ch 1 and turn, Sc 3, Sl. St. to 3rd stitch from end

Ch 1 and turn, Sc 12 around front opening

Sc 1 round

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Sc 1 round

Decrease every other stitch for all rounds until end is closed.

Hdc 10 down center of head and back, starting towards back of head

Rook

Ch 12, join

Sc 6 rounds

Decrease every 3rd stitch for 1 round

Sc 4 rounds

Decrease every other stitch for 1 round

Ch 1, Sc one flat round (increase as many stitches as needed)

Ch 2

1 round Dc and Hdc, alternating

New piece: Ch 4, working into 4th chain, Dc 12, Sl. St. to chain

Sl. St. new piece to top of rook

Abbreviations

Sl. St.= slip stitch

Ch = chain

Sc= single crochet

Dc= double crochet

Hdc=half double crochet

Frilly Scarves!

Recently there’s been a bunch of yarns coming out that you just knit or crochet using an edge of the yarn and it creates a lacy, frilly scarf all by itself. They look wonderfully fancy and intricate but are in fact really simple and fast to make, often not taking more than half an hour, maybe a couple hours if you’re going slowly. One thing I have discovered is that there’s a huge variety in these yarns and they are not all created equally! The first yarn I used (which I don’t have any pictures of because I gave away the final product and forgot to take pictures first!) was essentially a ribbon yarn that had an extra section across the top where you knit/crochet. This resulted in the ribbon part bunching together and looking quite fancy and lush, very neat. This yarn was actually found by my mom’s friend and they couldn’t figure out how to use it (really they were doing everything right but the first few rows look like a mess at first) so I figured it out and just knit the whole scarf.

Then I was out getting other yarn and discovered a similar yarn on sale. “Yarn on sale” is just such a dangerous phrase for us yarn lovers! Anyway, this stuff looked a little bit different but was a LOT cheaper than the first stuff I had used and the first stuff worked so well I figured I’d get several colors of this stuff and voila! easy Christmas presents. You might have guessed by my choice of words, but that’s not exactly what happened. Basically the differences from the first yarn made it a lot more difficult to work with. I will explain with pictures.

IMG_2879 IMG_2887

This yarn is a mesh rather than a ribbon yarn with an extra border. Doesn’t seem like it would be a big issue, but when it’s wound into a ball the mesh is all collapsed down, and it has a tendency to twist. To knit just the top row of the mesh you have to spread the mesh out enough to find the top row and when the yarn twists on itself that’s even more difficult. That slowed me down considerably and was quite frustrating. So rather than the three scarves I had planned to make for Christmas with this kind of yarn, I made one. The other two may still get made for later occasions but when I make those I’m going to unwind the yarn and flatten out the mesh all the way through before I start knitting, a co-worker has told me that makes it much easier to deal with. The resulting scarf is quite pretty though, and wonderfully fun to pet and play with.

IMG_2875 IMG_2877

The other two self-ruffling yarns I’ve worked with are rather different from the first two and are much fancier. I actually discovered these two at a great little yarn shop in the Twin Cities called Unwind Yarn Shop, and, of course, they were on sale, so I just couldn’t resist! One is essentially a machine knit tube which you are supposed to knit or crochet along one edge of, I crocheted, and the other is pretty much impossible to describe but is worked in the same manner. Pictures will help.

Both of these yarns worked like a dream. I don’t think they would have been all that easy to knit with, it just seems like things would get bulky and really tight around the needles, but crocheting them was very easy. And to crochet them you are basically just chain stitching right up the side, so you don’t even need to have any experience crocheting! These also turned out just beautifully. I gave one to my mom, but the blue one is mine and I’m not letting go of it!

That’s my exploration of self-ruffling yarn. It’s some pretty cool stuff. I’m not usually that into yarns that have a specific purpose (like eyelash yarns) but these work just great and are pretty cool. You definitely get what you pay for in terms of ease of use though.

And on a completely different note, this is my thirtieth post! And, I need to learn not to write posts late at night, especially when I plan to be productive the next day! Ah, procrastination.

Presents!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

It’s that time of year again, time for making Christmas presents! The smart crafter starts working on Christmas presents in June or July of course, but that would just be too easy for me. These are the yarns I’ll be using to make several Christmas presents including a few scarves, possibly a hat, and a chess set. The chess set may not be a Christmas present, I’m still not sure about that. But I’m going to make it no matter what. Several years ago I crocheted a chess set and created patterns for the chess pieces, so I’ll be crocheting the chess pieces to match a wooden board I made recently in a woodworking class I took. I will definitely post those patterns later, in their own post. I’ll also post pictures of the presents I make, but probably not until after Christmas as a few certain people I’m making gifts for happen to read this blog… No spoilers for you!

 

Two Busy Brunettes

two brunette sisters busy with crafting, cooking, teaching, reading and living

Glitchy Artist

Screenshots of the Universe

depression comix

a comic struggling to understand mental illness

The Geeky Hooker

Not THAT kind of hooker. The kind armed with a crochet hook.

carriescarr.com

technology explorer

MindMedicine Blog

Professional Golfer & Mind Coach in Life & Professional Sport...

Buzy Day

The adventure of NikkiM

allmostrelevant

Want to see what an Instagram with no pictures looks like? @allmostrelevant

Kitchen Overlord

Your home for geeky recipes, edible art, and nerdy kitchen gadget reviews.

All Night Knits

Sleep All Day. Knit All Night.

The Blog of Knitted Fog

art, life and stuff

knitnrun4sanity

Running, knitting, crocheting and blogging along.

Keep Me In Stitchez: The Blog

Following my passion, one stitch at a time

Knitting, reading, photography, and maybe more

Explorations, procrastinations, imaginations...

WOMBAT QUILTS

An Aussie's adventures in quilting