Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Black Sheep Gathering 2012!

I am so fortunate that my yearly US visit coincides with the Black Sheep Gathering. So much beautiful fiber under one roof! I wanted to take it all home with me, but I managed to limit myself to some needle felting accessories and some gorgeous merino wool,/Tibetan yak/ silk for spinning:

My daughter recently got into needle felting and I promised to take her to Black Sheep this year. It has been something that she has really been looking forward to. She brought her camera and snapped a lot of photos and admired a lot of wool. Surprisingly she was afraid of the sheep and her father had to carry her past them!

There were 2 big highlights of the day. One was getting to see the Fearless Leader of the Crochet Liberation Front and founder of Hookey, Laurie Wheeler (CrochetLibFront on Twitter)! 

One of the generous vendors gave my daughter some roving, and Laurie taught her how to spin it with her fingers. Thanks to Laurie's encouragement, she has asked me for her own drop spindle! 

The other big highlight of the day was getting to meet the talented designer, Laurinda Reddig, (ReCrochetions on Twitter). It was amazing being able to talk about crochet design all afternoon. I am already looking forward to next year!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Extreme Crochet!

Just when you think you have all of the crochet tools you need, something new and exciting comes along! I ordered this beautiful jumbo crochet hook from Jenkins Woodworking, and it is the most remarkable jumbo hook I have ever seen. I love that it was handmade by an Oregon woodworker and his wife. I purchased one of their hairpin lace looms last year and was so impressed, I didn't hesitate to place another order with them. There aren't a lot of places to buy jumbo hooks, and these are the best quality I have found.  I also love that they wrote a personal note on the invoice:

I ordered a 25mm (size U) hook to get started with. If I decide I like large scale crochet, I think I will order the 22mm (size T) and 28mm (size V) as well.

After I came across this inspiring blog post showing a giant granny square used as a chair covering, I fell in love with the idea of extreme crochet, and I knew I had to try it!

With the right yarn and doily pattern, a jumbo hook makes an incredible rug!

This gorgeous chair has been cross stitched, but I am thinking something similar and equally effective could be done with the surface crochet technique and a jumbo hook.

Now, I am off to find some ultra chunky yarn to play with!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Use the Doodle Scarf Pattern to Make a Necklace!

Crochet jewelry is one of my favorite things to design, and ever since I created the Doodle Scarf for the 2011 Interweave Crochet Accessories Issue, I wanted to try to use the pattern to make a necklace. Recently,  I found some amazing pearl cotton thread at my local yarn store, and I knew it would be perfect for this. It is just the right thickness, it is comfortable to wear next to the skin, and it has a beautiful sheen. Perfect for jewelry!

I crocheted the pattern as written in the magazine, and used a size B/1 (2.25mm) hook. Instead of making tassels on the ends, I used the chain loop at the end of the last pineapple as a fastening loop and I crocheted a bobble and stitched it to the other end to be the fastener. To make the necklace appear as a continuous circle, I crocheted the chain loop instructions for joining the pineapples on one end only. I liked the bobble so much, I decided to make 5 more to stitch on top of the flowers and where the pineapples are joined. I am planning to try making bobbles for the scarf version as well!

This is how I made the bobbles: 

Rnd 1: Ch 4, then make 8 dc into first ch.

Rnd 2: Sc in first st, then in every other st around to close up bobble. Fasten off.

It would also be fun to crochet the flowers, pineapples, and bobbles in different colors, for a festive summer necklace.

Unfastened Necklace to Show changes to Ends

Since the Fastening is Invisible, You Can Wear it with Either the Flower or Pineapples at the Center Front

For best results, the necklace must be carefully blocked. Pin it out on a blocking or ironing board, and steam block. I usually like to wet block, but I found that the pearl cotton looses its sheen when wet blocked.

Please also see this blog post, for another way to wear the Doodle Scarf. 

The Doodle Scarf pattern that can be used to make this necklace, is now available for individual sale on Interweave's website for $5.50. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

More About the Tiara Trim

In my last post, I promised that I would talk about some other uses for the Tiara Trim I designed for Interweave Crochet's Summer Issue. Before I shipped off the samples, I took some photos of the trim being worn in different ways. These photos are also a good indication of the scale of the trim when crocheted using different weights of yarn.

A chunky weight yarn, makes trim that is wide enough to make an lovely scarf. This weight of yarn also really makes a feature of the bobbles and woven top edge.

I also love the idea of using this this width of trim to make a belt or to top the waistband of a skirt. I am thinking of making a skirt with pleats that begin in the center of the 2 chain loops. It would also be pretty over a pencil skirt.

Chunky Weight Yarn Used as a Belt
Chunky Weight Yarn, Wrapped as a Scarf

Fingering Weight Yarn Makes a Delicate Necklace

Sport Weight Yarn Makes a Bold Collar or Neckline Trim 

This isn't the last you have seen of this trim. Once I find the right metallic yarn, I will show you  a completely different use for this pattern!