Posted in Knitting

A Lacy Day

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– a day when I don’t feel like doing much, so I pick up pins and/or needles and do some lace knitting.

The other day, I made a Cornflower circular block:

Lace Knitting - Cornflower Circular Block

The wool is Lithuanian made Artistic colorway yarn – so lovely – and easy to work with. Lesley Stanfield and Melody Griffiths have a perfect pattern – a variation of a classic easy and simple eyelet circle. So I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel and used their pattern to make the Cornflower.

Then, I swatched an ‘eyelet hearts’ pattern, which can be found on VogueKnitting here, using wool that comes from Raasiku:

Lace Hearts - Lace Knitting

Then, I made another piece of lace hearts fabric and wet-felted it:

Lace Hearts - Lace Knitting - Wet-Felted

The next little project – for another lacy day – making these lace hearts the Estonian way, using Estonian yarn and a pattern in Pitsilised Koekirjad, an Estonian lace knitting book, 2nd edition, by Leily Reimann:

Pitsilised Koerkirjad - Estonian Lace

The pattern is slightly larger, with a multiple of 14 sts and a repeat of 12 rows, techniques are a bit different too, but the overall results, judging by the photo in the book, should be as pretty, if not prettier, as the swatches above 🙂

Oh, and at the top of this post is an attempt to claim my blog on bloglovin, which, allegedly, makes it easier to keep up with updates on our favorite blogs. All I have to do is include the link at the top of my post 🙂

Cheers!

Posted in Knitting

The Last Straw, Upcycled

I was on a longish flight from point A to point B, with no project to work on, because I checked most of my stuff in an attempt to travel super light. A few minutes into the flight a lady across the isle pulled out her sketchbook and pencils and got to work – how fun! A little while later, another person, right behind her, got her crochet out – what were the odds? Reading the word “blog” on a random car in heavy traffic was sort of the last straw…and here I am 🙂

Speaking of straws, did you know these could make the best stitch markers ever for your knitting, circular or not? I was working on a large piece of lace knitting when one of the padlock-type markers snapped in the middle of the work for no apparent reason and I had no more markers left.  My mind rushed through a number of options, none of which were good enough. Then I found a bright colored straw in a kitchen drawer, which I immediately visualized as a set of perfect tiny round stitch markers slipping easily from one needle to the other. I highly recommend making yourself some of these DIY stitch markers and saving yourself some money and doing good for the environment by upcycling some plastic!!!

Upcycled Straw - DIY Stitch Marker

Additionally, these markers make the job of tracking your stitch count a breeze!!!

DIY Stitch Markers

Here’s my latest lace knitting designing project ‘featuring’ my upcycled straw stitch markers and the stitch count technique 🙂

Lace Knitting with DIY Stitch Markers.jpg

 

The lovely royal blue 2-ply pure (brushed?) wool comes from Lithuania; it’s a bit on a coarse side, but still very pleasant to touch (thankfully, I’m not allergic to this type of fiber). This yarn and the laminated birch circular needles – my new favorite – are a pleasure to work with, even in the summer!  ❤

Posted in Knitting, Yarn

Woolen Treasures

Note to self, and anyone this may resonate with:

Don’t resent change! Go with the flow!!! Get out there and look for gems it has in store for you. Results may more than pleasantly surprise you 🙂

8.2 Art Yarn 1
Loving my scarf to be
8.1 Art Yarn 2
Oh the lovely colors of the heavenly yarn that still smells of soft and fluffy sheep!
8.2 Art Yarn 3
Bouncy ball of pure wool yarn

Happy lace knitting and crocheting to me and to you 🙂

Posted in Knitting

Bohemian Knitting

Literally.

I love this one book of lace knitting designs by Marianne Kinzel. Or, actually, both of her books. I wonder if she had more published… The author-designer was born and learned to knit and design her knits in Bohemia. I am in love with her floral designs. And, her books include both written instructions and symbol charts!

So, I decided to make a wall hanging of a lace knit flower based on her Thistle Design. I got some crochet cotton thread and a set of bamboo double ended knitting needles. I thought I’d complete about 30 rounds or so to get a nice size flower. I know, her design is too majestic to be only partially completed  for a mere purpose of making a wall hanging. But such was my idea. The first 2 dozen rounds worked up beautifully on the tiny bamboo pins, at which point I had to switch to a circular set of needles as the piece was outgrowing the size of my bamboo pins.

Bohemian Knitting 1

I placed the work on a set of these shiny sleek circular needles – I love the color and how smooth they are. Half way into the next round I realized that hadn’t been the best choice for the project. Cotton thread was getting caught on the join between the cord and the needle. This determined the size of my bohemian knit flower:

Bohemian Knitting 2

It’s not the first time that these lovely needles didn’t work with cotton. I’d previously had to unravel my cotton blend hearts:

Lace Hearts

They do work great with acryllic and wool. I have to keep that in mind each time I pick up cotton. They just look so nice and appear to be such a perfect match for cotton thread and yarn that I keep wanting to experiment, hoping that it’ll work better next time.

Well, for my next project, I’ll have to get a set of circular bamboo needles in this particular size. Time and time again, I come to a conclusion that bamboo needles are the best. I still love working with my colorful needles made from different materials, but investing in a complete set of circular ‘bamboo’ of all useful sizes appears to be a must at this point…

Although, I’m not sure if I’d change my mind if I tried a pair of Prym ergonomic knitting needles. I am hoping to figure out the best way to purchase one. I want to see if they work any better. They look super cool and futuristic 🙂

Posted in Spinning on a Pencil, Yarn

Spinning under Control

I’ve hand-spun a portion of my felting wool stash into a few balls of yarn – all s-twist singles, each of a different thickness, amount of twist, and a different colorway. Here are a few samples:

HandSpun Yarn 1

The simple bracelet in the pic, I’ve crocheted out of a bulky type piece and then wet-felted it to minimize potential pilling, which is more likely than not to happen since I didn’t ply the thread. I’ve been wearing the bracelet for a while and even washed it in between – it’s totally fine and I absolutely love it.

This one is a little plain knit block – the colorway reminds me of a field of spring flowers:

HandSpun Yarn 3

As you can see, I’ve been using plain #2/HB pencils and craft sticks for spinning. The sticks are longer than pencils, which allows you to hold more yarn, so there’s no need to wind it as frequently…That and pet brushes for color blending 🙂 is all you need to begin spinning your DIY yarn without investing into professional tools before you decide whether or not you like working with unspun fiber.

HandSpun Yarn 2

Actually, you don’t even have to use brushes if you don’t have any, just some fiber and a pencil/stick. That’s all. The colors can be blended by hand 🙂 The effect will be slightly different, but not in the least less attractive. And if you don’t have any felting wool – but have a fluffy dog – brush him/her nicely a few times and you are all set 🙂 Seriously! That’s what our ancestors, apparently, used to do. I recently read about it in a couple of books on nordic and Scandinavian knitting, but haven’t tried it myself yet. I still have a pile of felting fluff to work through 🙂 Although, as kids, my friend and I used to watch his grandma spin her fluff-ball dogs’ (she had two) hair into super thin thread. She probably blended it with other fibers/threads at some point…We were too young to think anything of the process, but we did like the nice and soft socks and mittens she’d make for us with her own yarn.

HandSpun Yarn 4

Cheers!

Posted in Crochet, Knitting

Knitting, Knooking, and Crocheting too

My knit and crochet Lucky Lilac scarf is still work in progress. I’ve used up one skein of I Love this Cotton! and I’d like to add about two more:

Lucky Lilac Knit and Crochet Scarf

I really like this pattern, which I picked out to make “imitation” lilac bush/tree leaves.

Speaking of leaf patterns, if you don’t have a stitch collection/dictionary around, such as Barbara Walker’s treasury books, or Harmony guides, or (include your favorite 🙂 ), or Vogue Knitting Stitchitionary publications (see also: http://www.vogueknitting.com/resources/stitchionary), you can find some lovely vintage or antique patterns in books that are in the public domain now. There’s a nice variety of crochet, knitting, tatting, embroidery… books on The Antique Pattern Library – New Media Arts Inc’s project – site (www.antiquepatternlibrary.org), which looks like a great resource listing materials donated by folks from different parts of the world. Per New Media Arts Inc’s website, “Antique Pattern Library is a library of public domain craft publications and patterns, helping ancient crafts survive and allowing everybody, regardless of money, to share in the rich heritage of patterns our ancestors left us. It provides inspiration and tutorials, patterns and philosopies. Much work goes into making the sources useful for crafters, and as a result this maker’s library is appreciated and used worldwide.”

Anyway, where was I, ah right, you can find a nice leaf pattern or two in Antique Pattern Library’s or the Internet Archive’s public domain files:

  • Knitting: How to Knit and What to Knit. Compiled and Edited by Marie Louise Kerzman. – see p.75-76;
  • Kant-Breiwerk naar Oude Patronen door Luoise Thompson en Elis. M. Rogge – see p.66.
  • The Jenny June Series Manuals for Ladies. Knitting and Crochet. A Guide to the Use of the Needle and the Hook. 200 Illustrations. Edited by Jenny June. (see p.71-72…for a nice border pattern).

I bet there’s more too. It’s a pretty amazing collection.

Back to my scarf, when the knitting is complete, I’ll decorate it with my little Lucky Lilac crochet flowers:

Crochet Lucky Lilac

Here’s a quick pattern for the flower, which I’ll chart and share at some point 🙂

Foundation: unfinished slipknot (usk, see image in my blogspot post for details re usk), ch3, sl st in usk to join. Rnd 1: ch1, 10sc around, sl st in 1st sc to join.

Rnd 2: ch4, 3tr closed cluster (chain 3 loop on hook, work 3 incomplete trs in same sc as join – 4 loops on hook, yo, pull through 3 loops – 2 loops on hook, yo, pull through remaining 2 loops to make a closing chain – 3tr closed cluster complete); ch4, sl st in same sc as join. One petal complete.

3tr closed cluster - crochet stitch

(sl st in next sc. In next sc: sl st, ch4, 3tr closed cluster, ch4, sl st) x4; sl st in sl st to join.

I like regular lilacs too – just work 8 sc in Rnd 1 and make 4 petals.

The other day, I felt like doing some knooking, but didn’t have a knooking needle – there happened to be none available in any of the huge craft stores nearby the day I wanted to try knooking, so I ended up using a tunisian crochet hook and a piece of satin cord, which made what I call my perfect DIY knooking needle.

DIY Knooking Needle Experiment

The satin cord was too thin to make the knooking process faster or easier; a thicker cord made too big a knot that would not slide through loops. It was not a speedy process, but the tool did work well enough to satisfy my curiosity about the knooking technique. I’ll be doing more of it once I have an adequate knooking needle.

Cheers!

Posted in Crochet, Crochet Patterns, Needle Felting

The Chicken or the Egg? That and Yoga for Wrists and Hands

Well, the outcomes of my crochet experiment indicate that the egg comes before the chicken: first, you crochet an egg, and then you add on little colorful parts to make it into a chick.

Crochet Easter Eggs and Chick 1

When it comes to crochet design – the possibilities are endless. I am a big believer in techniques and projects that do not require too much time, yarn or tools 🙂 sort of minimalistic projects…I love it when I can sit down whenever I get a few minutes and using just a hook and a tiny bit of yarn, and, perhaps, scissors, make something cute and/or colorful and/or practical 😀

So, I used my fav double crochet stitching to create a few little Easter eggs, and a chick. I could have filled them with yarn, but I used fiberfill instead.

This egg here was crocheted in joined rounds:

Crochet Easter Egg 2

This one was crocheted in a spiral:

Crochet Easter Egg 1

I’ve experimented with different stitch count combinations. I’m hoping to get a chance to put the patterns in a presentable format to share with you, a bit later.

For now, here’s a quick pattern for a spiral crochet egg:

MC, (sc, hdc, 10dc) in MC; (2dcinc, dc) x6 (crochet over the yarn tail); 18dc; stuff with fiberfill or yarn in same color, (2dcdec, 2dc) x8; add more stuffing, 2dcdec x4; dc-hdc-sc combination decrease, sl st in next st; thread yarn tail through remaining stitches and pull to close top. Weave in the end.

For MC, I used a single loop magic ring, like the one I used in my crochet pattern Snowballs and Icicles in Color; you can look up the MC technique at the beginning of this youtube video here.

You can use any yarn with a crochet hook about a size smaller than what’s recommended on the yarn label. For this project, I picked out yarn that calls for a 5mm crochet hook and used a 4mm crochet hook.

This little chick was initially an egg, which I decided to turn into an egg that hatched, a little chick that is:

Crochet Chick

Here, the chick is waiting for siblings to arrive:

Crochet Easter Eggs and Chick 2

You can make a hanging loop to turn an egg into an ornament, and then weave in the yarn end tail. Oh, and one egg in there is needle-felted.

I was also looking into crochet and knitting project packing tips for travelers, when I came across some helpful info on redheart.com: How to Pack Yarn Projects for Airplane Travel, which included a link to info on stretches for wrists and hands: Stretches for Wrists & Hands. The article, medically reviewed by an MD, among other things, talks about Yoga for Wrists and Hands – a workout any arty-crafty person can use!!!

I’ve bookmarked a couple more posts on wrist, hand, arm fitness, because, even though I’d never thought of these types of exercises as essential, after longer knitting sessions I noticed I could really use some pre-knitting warm-ups and post-knitting stretching! So, if you love handwork, you may want to include a set of stretches in your arts and crafts and fitness routine. You can google this or you can look it up here:

Stretches to Do at Work Every Day (or “at Handwork” I’d say 🙂 )

http://www.healthline.com/health/deskercise#Benefits6

Hand Exercises for Knitters & Crocheters

https://www.craftsy.com/blog/2013/11/hand-stretches-for-knitters-and-crocheters/

TEN HAND AND SHOULDER EXERCISES FOR KNITTERS

http://www.dummies.com/crafts/knitting/ten-hand-and-shoulder-exercises-for-knitters/

Happy Crocheting!!!

Posted in Crochet

Can’t Stop Crocheting Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossom Crochet Pattern 2.

I feel so bad for all those trees and pretty little flowers in the cold weather we’ve had over the past couple days and it’s not about to get much warmer…So, today, I’ve crocheted another bunch of cherry blossoms 🙂

If you’d like to make some too, you can look up the pattern in my pattern blospot post here – Cherry Blossom – Easy Crochet Flower – Pattern 2.

Cheers!

 

Posted in Crochet

Cherry Blossom Crochet

It’s March, and it’s so nice out!!! Blooming trees outside have inspired me to create a cherry blossom crochet pattern to complement my Cherry Blossom knit shawl as a border:

Cherry Blossom Shawl.

I’ve not finished my shawl yet, but I’ve made a few flowers and attached them to bobby pins.

I’ve posted the Cherry Blossom crochet pattern on my blogspot, which I’ve created specifically for sharing my crochet and, potentially, knitting patterns, to kind of have them all in one place and not mix them in with my other hobbies 🙂

I hope you are enjoying a nice weather, wherever you are today! 🙂

Posted in Crochet

Overcoming a Fear of Multiple Loose Ends

I’ve made a sample of Bird of Paradise, Frida’s Flowers, in size 10 crochet thread 🙂

Crochet-Motif-Bird-of-Paradise.jpg

It’s worked so well, I’m going to make the rest of the motifs in the blanket project in crochet thread too. I’d like to put together a miniature version of the blanket, but first, I’ll need to see how each motif looks in the size. The free pattern for the blanket can be found here.

The thing is, for a while, I’d been avoiding multi-color projects simply because I didn’t feel like weaving in multiple ends. I’ve always loved colorful crochet pieces and admired the work others produced in beautiful colorways. I just didn’t wish to work with more than just a few colors spaced out at quite large intervals, so it’d be easier to sow in the ends. Then, I came across Edie Eckart’s tip, which I really liked 🙂 In her “Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs: Creative Techniques for Joining Motifs of All Shapes”, she advises:

“Instead of letting the Fear and Dread of Multiple Ends keep you from using all the colors of yarn you desire, think of the task as just another important step in making the best possible project you can. Consider the satisfaction you get from a just-mown lawn…Take pride in the tidiness and colorfulness of your amazing work!”

“The Fear and Dread of Multiple Ends”! Is that what it is?! 🙂 She pinned down the feelings that, apparently, have been keeping me from taking on patterns more elaborate in terms of color. So, now that I know it’s a fear, I decide to face it to overcome it 🙂 I pick up a bunch of colors and get started. I start small:

Crochet-Flower-JAYGO

Then expand as follows 🙂

Crochet-Color-Wheel-JAYGO

The next thing I know, I’m sitting there weaving away, sewing in those multiple colorful ends of the Bird of Paradise motif 🙂 [I found the project info through a blogger, Elzeblaadje, who posted a lovely motif she’s crocheted for her blanket.] I WAYGO-ed 🙂 and it made a huge difference! Weave-in-as-you-go slows the work down in a way, but it really makes the process more efficient.

Look how clean the back of my Frida’s Flower is 🙂

Crochet-Motif-Bird-of-Paradise-Back

And how do you feel about multi-color projects? 🙂

P.S. I’ve just realized that today is Frida Kahlo’s birthday! The Frida’s Flowers CAL motif designs were inspired by Frida Kahlo. What a coincidence!