Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Fun Little Giveaway!

I discovered this little treasure at my local craft store, Barakat, and loved it so much, I decided to get another one to give away here on my blog!  I just love the black, white and red color combo and the design looks so chic. The little red button retracts the tape back into the case.  I always seem to need a tape measure when I am out, so the little clip is perfect to hook on a keychain.  A European sewing accessory at its finest! 

To enter to win this little gem, just leave a comment to this post.  A winner will be randomly chosen next Thursday, September 1st, and be announced here in my next post.  Good luck and thank you for visiting my blog!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Festive New Use for an Everyday Crochet Item

As part of a Kuwaiti tradition, there is a mid-Ramadan Celebration called "Gergiaan".  Children dress up in traditional costumes, go door to door and sing a special Gergiaan song, and then are given candy in return.  It has also become customary for families with small children, to give candy to friends and family.  The trick is to come up with a creative way of presenting the candy.  In previous years, we have put candy in:  teapots, mock oversized candy and walnuts, in bundles to look like dates hanging from a palm tree we fashioned out of wood and cardboard, and last year we filled a big treasure chest with candy and toys.

This year I really wanted to do something with crochet, and was inspired by Linda Permann's Azalea bowls from the Summer 2011 issue of Interweave Crochet.  I thought about crocheting bowls and stiffening them, but my problem was time.  I needed to make 30 of them in a week.  Luckily, I had a flash of inspiration from something my husband wears every day in Kuwait.  It is called a "gaffiyah" and it is worn as part of the traditional headgear, under a white "guttrah" or red and white checked "shumag".  They are the right size and come in a variety of interesting designs.  I was planning to buy them and stiffen them in to bowls, when my husband suggested that I use them as is and place them on actual bowls to save even more time.  I loved that idea because I had been wondering how I was going to stiffen so many at one time.  Next, we went out searching for the perfect bowl.  I had a gaffiyah in my purse and kept pulling it out to try on bowls in the shop.  I noticed the confused looks of the people who worked in the shop, but we carried on until we found the best fit.  Then we bought an assortment gaffiyahs, and took the whole lot home to work on.  

The first thing I noticed, was that each gaffiyah was a little different size.  Some fit on the bowls easily and some kept popping off.  So I sprayed the difficult ones with water first, and used clamps to hold one side to the top edge while I stretched the other side to fit.  Amazingly, with a lot of patience, I got all but two of them to fit the bowls.  One was just too big, and the other one I was able to use, but I wasn't able to stretch it over the rim of the bowl.  I decided not to glue the gaffiyahs to the bowls in case anyone wanted to use the bowl in the kitchen and wear the gaffiyah later (I like things to be reusable!).  Instead, I used a little double-stick tape to secure them to the bowls.  I love how they look stretched over the bowls, I think it really showcases the beauty of the crochet work.

When people first saw them wrapped up in cellophane, they thought we had just bought baskets.  They were pleasantly surprised to discover another way a gaffiyah could be used!

Filled with Candy and Ready for the Party!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bold Vintage Crochet Hat Inspiration!

At the moment, I am experiencing a renewed enthusiasm for hats, and I have been inspired by some photos of bold vintage hats I have found.  While the styles may not be relevant in today's fashion scene, I really admire the "oomph" they have.  I wish I could pull off wearing a snood, with what appears to be a skein of yarn as a crown on top.  It would be a fun way to use a skein of yarn I have been saving, because it looks too beautiful to open up and wind it into a ball!

I love the cascading ribbon bow on this over the top funnel hat.  I wonder how many women actually made this hat.  They must have turned heads wherever they wore it!

As one who has spent a lot of time in vintage clothing stores, I am surprised that I just discovered these 1950's "Bangle" hats.   There was a whole series of crochet patterns created using these oversized sequins!

This hat is simple and elegant and the bow is the perfect embellishment.  This would have looked smart with a fitted suit.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Blossom Earrings Pattern

I really like to find other uses for a pattern, and I love it when a design inspires a new design.  My Blossom Necklace pattern has been so popular, and a lovely reader of my blog, Susie Little, created earrings to go with the necklace that she made.  I saw a photo of them on her blog and thought it was a wonderful idea.  I think they are an ingenious use of tiny bits of yarn, and I want to thank Susie for the idea!    

In case you would like to make a pair of Blossom Earrings, I have written a pattern for them and am offering it as a free Ravelry download.  A fun project you can crochet in minutes!  

(Back of Earrings)
(Earrings with Bead and Sequin Embellishment instead of Embroidery)


Skill level:  Intermediate
Finished Measurements:  1" Tall x 7/8" Wide


Yarn:  Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light, (a DK weight Alpaca and Wool Blend)
Color A:  28", Oceanic Mix, #4285
Color B:  12", Turquoise Mix, #4294
Color C:  6", Pea Soup Mix, #4275

Hook size:  (E) 3.5mm
Notions:  Tapestry needle