Friday, September 26, 2014

Talking About the Festival Hairband Stand

I took a lot of inspiration from my now 8 year old daughter, when I was designing projects for Crocheting Clothes Kids Love.  I designed this hairband stand because my daughter has a wonderful collection of hairbands, and tossing them in a drawer often damages them. I thought, why not display them in a beautiful way? They can become part of a girls room decor, and be accessible.

The main component you need for the stand is an oatmeal container. I use a lot of oats in my house because I grind oats in my food processor to make flour. My daughter loves it when I make carrot cake, and it is more nutritious with the addition of oat flour. Here is the recipe, in case you are interested. It gets my daughter (and many of her friends at school) to eat carrots, walnuts, and oats. Which makes me love the recipe even more. For the school version, I leave off the frosting because  want it to be a part of a healthy lunch. After you have made delicious things with the oats, you can upcycle the container into the Festival Hairband Stand

For the book's photoshoot, I put together a selection of hairbands that I embellished.  I wanted bands that would add interest to the stand without competing with it. I thought it might be interesting to tell you about the bands that were featured on it.

This band was a plain straw band. I had some pretty white lace in my stash. I dyed it with camomile tea, then stitched it to the band with invisible nylon thread.

I covered this band with paper and then decoupaged it with paper pieces I cut from a Spode china catalog, so it would look like a mosaic.

 For this band, I used one of the yarns that I used in the hairband stand and wrapped it around the band, then glued the ends to keep the wraps in place.

 I also wrapped this band with the yarn from the hairband stand, then wrapped it again in two directions to get the x's on top.

This was some handmade lace I bought at a street market in London several years ago. I was saving it for just the right project! I covered a satin band that I had made when I was working as an embroidery designer. You can see some of the embroidery peeking through the lace.

In addition to the oatmeal container, you will need lightweight quilt batting and 1 whole skein of Berroco Weekend "Swimming Hole" 205 yd [189 m], 50 (46m) yds of "Clothesline", and 72 yds (66m) of "Curry".

I was going to buy bands for the photoshoot, but embellishing the ones I already had, made them unique and upcycled as is the underlying theme of the project. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The En Fleur Cowl for Crochet! Magazine

I am so happy that I was given another opportunity to work with the wonderful Ellen Gormley, editor of Crochet! magazine. After we finished writing Crocheting Clothes Kids Love together, she became the editor for the magazine and asked me if I would submit something to the magazine. She is doing wonderful things with the magazine, and I am thrilled that my cowl gets to be among its pages. 

I had been working with this floral motif for a while, and it was going to be much smaller, and an embellishment to a purse! I kept playing with the purse design, but nothing was working. I realized the only thing I loved about it was the flowers! I loved them so much, I decided they should be the star of the project! I crocheted them in chunky yarn, then I experimented with how I would put them together, and what they should become. I found that 3 joined together was the perfect size for a cowl, and the way they looked joined together was very interesting from all angles. A quick and satisfying project to crochet. It would also make a wonderful gift!

It is crocheted in a brand new yarn for Berroco: Ultra Alpaca Chunky. I have always loved their Ultra Alpaca yarns, and I was really excited when I found out they were producing a chunky version! It comes in lovely colors and works up beautifully. If you need a chunky yarn for a project, definitely give it try!

The En Fleur Cowl is in the Winter issue of Crochet! magazine. The digital edition is now available, and the print edition will be on sale beginning October 14th.

Back View
Side View

Friday, September 12, 2014

Making Tassels More Beautiful By Blocking

Yes, I really do block my tassels. You could say I block just about everything I do that involves yarn! No matter how carefully you wrap and trim your yarn when making a tassel, it will usually need a little grooming to make it hang neat and straight. 

This is how I block my tassels:

First, pin the tassel to a blocking board, then spray it with water. 
Next, straighten the yarn strands so that they lie flat.

Then, trim the tassel across the bottom to make all of the strands the same length.

After trimming, leave the tassel to dry before removing the pins.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A little Update...What I'm Doing These Days

So thrilling to be browsing the crochet shelves of Barnes and Noble and discover your book on the shelf! It was the perfect end to my 2014 USA trip:-) Now I am settled back home in Kuwait, busy getting the Arabic version of our eWoodstory Nouveau Necklace kits  and Mini Masterpiece Pendants ready to launch here. I am also working on a prototype for our next kit. Stay tuned for more details!