Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Another Use for the Tiara Trim Pattern!

Ever since I was swatching the Tiara Trim idea, my daughter thought it looked like a crown. She inspired the name for the trim, which Interweave kept! She even took one of my samples and fashioned it into a crown, which she wore around for several days. She thought she looked like a princess, and I had to agree with her, even though the sample was crocheted in a grey cotton yarn. From that day, I decided I would make her a proper crown using the pattern and some metallic cord. 

When I was in America, I went on a hunt for cord. I wanted something that was the right thickness and that wasn't too expensive. I found the perfect cord at a fabric store, but it cost about $1.00 per yard, and this project needs approximately 75 yards, so that was just too rich, even for such a regal crown. I was discouraged, until I found some metallic, plastic canvas cord at Michaels. It cost $1.99 for a 15 yard skein. Much more reasonable! To make a crown to fit my daughter, whose head measures 19 1/2", I used 4 skeins of gold and 1 skein of silver. The cord also comes in jewel colors, so you could make the bobbles different colors to represent rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.

I used a size F/5 (3.75mm) hook and crocheted the 2 bobble trim as written. I omitted the Weaving Cord, since I thought it looked more ornate with the open spaces at the bottom of the crown. I made 5 pattern repeats but ended up overlapping it at the back when I stitched it up, because it stretched more than I thought it would in the blocking process. To block it; I got it damp with hot water and pinned it out on a blocking board, then I steam blocked it with an iron and left it for a few days to dry.

When I had just stitched it together, I looked up and she appeared in front of me in her princess dress. She snatched the crown from my hands and put it on right away to add the finishing touch to her outfit. This fun project can be crocheted in an afternoon and will make a little girl happy for many afternoons!

If you would like to see more uses for the Tiara Trim pattern, see the first and second blog posts I wrote about it.

This pattern is now available for individual sale on Interweave's website.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Making Yarn!

When I am in between crochet projects, I will be spinning with a drop spindle! I learned a little about spinning in high school, and hadn't really thought about picking it up again until I attended the Black Sheep Gathering, last year. All of the beautiful spindles on display were so alluring. I had to have one! I bought an inexpensive one since I didn't know how much I would like spinning. I also purchased some roving and a how to video from Interweave. A whole year passed, and I didn't touch the spindle. I wanted to, but was just too busy crocheting to learn something new! Last month when I was in Oregon, I had the opportunity to take a beginning spinning class at the Eugene Textile Center. It was a great introduction, and got me started. I was hooked! I need more practice, but it is great to have a portable project to pick up that is relaxing, and requires no figuring or counting!

I ended up buying a more expensive spindle as I didn't have one with me for the class. It really is worth the money to get a good one. The one I bought was made by Ken Ledbetter, who is a spinner himself. When you give it a twirl, it spins so smoothly and is very balanced.  I really noticed a difference from the cheaper spindle I started on.

Today I taught my daughter how to spin. She liked it so much, she watched the Interweave video with me. Now I wish I had bought more roving, since it looks like I will have to share mine!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Always Inspiring, Vintage Crochet!

The 2 items that I think stand out in vintage crochet books, are hats and pot holders. They are incredibly fun and creative. I love anything whimsical, and these pot holders are a prime example of whimsy at its best!

I have many crocheted pot holders that my grandmother lovingly made, but I don't actually use them. They are too pretty, and I don't think they would protect my hands from heat. That doesn't stop me from wanting to collect vintage pot holder patterns though. I think the patterns could be a launching pad for creating appliqu├ęs, purses, jewelry and afghans.

Heres's hoping you might find a little inspiration in these:

See my posts about amazing crochet hats: here and here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Prize Winning Marseille Crochet Necklace

I am happy to report that my Marseille Necklace won 2nd prize in the Crochet Guild of America's Annual Design Competition, held at the Knit and Crochet Show in Manchester New Hampshire.
I set myself an interesting challenge for this project. I really wanted to put the necklace together by working in a freeform manner, and I didn't want to have any preconceived notions as to what it was going to look like. I have a large bag of scrumbles and unused pieces from old designs, so I decided that I would limit myself to using pieces from that bag first and then only crochet bits to fill in, if needed.

I emptied the bag and set to work sorting out pieces that I found interesting, and that I thought went together. Next, I got out my necklace form and began manipulating and pinning pieces in different combinations until I had a pleasing arrangement. Then, I spent a few days looking at it and experimenting with different ways of embellishing it. I even tried beads and sequins on it, but found that they didn't add anything to the look.  I decided that all of the embellishment would be made with yarn in embroidery or surface crochet. My favorite experiment and discovery, was the edging I put on the center medallion and sides of the necklace. I was ripping out one of my pieces to reuse the yarn, and since it had been blocked previously, the yarn became marvelously squiggly. I stitched it to the necklace with invisible thread and it made a nice delicate edging.  

I had all the blue and green pieces pinned together, but I still thought it needed another element. On a whim, I picked up a piece of lace from the bag and pinned it above blue and green pieces. I wouldn't have planned the necklace with lace on top, so I was surprised at how much I liked it!  Suddenly all the pieces fell into the right places, just in time for the deadline!  I was so glad, because I really wanted to participate in the competition.

Here is where the pieces came from:

The blue pieces were from made to go on my Geometric Splash shower curtain. I made them to use on the curtain, but in the end I didn't need them. They began as odd shaped strips, and I coiled up for the necklace.

Geometric Splash Shower Curtain

The Spiral squares were from a necklace that I had planned on making, but never did.

The ring on top of the medallion was left over from my film recycling crochet project. I covered it with thread, which gave it a plaid effect and added another level of texture to the necklace.

The lace was leftover from a baby sweater I made for my niece. I like that it is lacy and modern at the same time.
Niece's Baby Sweater
Necklace Fastening
The only pieces I had to crochet to complete the necklace were; the strip I wove through the lace, the blue ring that holds the film ring, and the bobble that acts as a fastener for the necklace. It was a really enjoyable project and a nice break from pattern writing!

If you would like to see the rest of the winning entries in the competition see Doris Chan's blog post.