KNITTING

Monday, March 6, 2017

stitch holders

Economically, you could use a piece of yarn.  A safety pin.  A paper clip.   I have; i do.

Quite extravagantly, you can purchase (or make) beaded gems.  Use discarded costume earrings.

Somewhere in the middle, you can purchase commercial stitch holders made of plastic.

Meanwhile, how about bobby pins?   I recently went to a big box pharmacy store and for $2 bought 100 bobby pins, in the color of steel.  Plain metal.  Not shaded blonde, brunette, raven, redhead.  Silver/metal.

I mentioned to the cashier that I was hoping to have found them coated in hot pink, or deep purple, or shocking blue...and she replied....paint them with nail polish.  VOILA.  What a great idea.

The beauty part of using bobby pins is that they easily slip on and off a stitch.  Push on, pull off.  No clasp to open, no paper clip to push together/pull apart, no yarn to fiddle with.  Using them is akin to working a precision like spear....boom.  Removing them; moving them - just as easy.

To transform them, I left a few of them on the original cardboard, and separated them.  I painted them and left them for a few days to dry.  I repeated this 3  times with the different polishes as shown.

So, do consider the humble bobby pin for your stitch holding needs.  Here are some of mine, transformed.  After adequate drying, its a good idea to slip them onto and off of folded paper a few times to break them in and allow any excess polish on the edges to transfer to the paper, if at all.  You'd never want to ruin a project with color transfer, so do be careful. I do believe, however, there is likely little chance of harm. Over time, the polish cures as hard as can be.

My favorites are the deep red ones.  The silver pins are unpolished, as purchased.  I put these to work straightaway. :)




Monday, December 26, 2016

Candy Cane Hobby Horse cover cozy

Because sometimes you DO need a hobby horse candy cane cover.  [Pattern at end of post.]



Many years ago, I came across this photo, but it has disappeared from the internet, never to be found. If it belongs to YOU, please leave a comment below and let me know. Meanwhile, I intended to make these for many years, and never got around to it.  I crochet more than I knit, and I tend to crochet gifts, and i tend to get tied up in all of that. 

 This year, I went looking for the pattern, and I found this photo over at yarnyuck.blogspot.com:
It seemed to me, these were from the same pattern, but Yarnyuck didn't have the pattern; nor did Yarnyuck give these a thumbs up.  What I know about "crochet kitsch" is that one person's trash is another person's treasure, and a few comments were looking for the pattern. I'm in the "yay" column, not the "neigh" column.  I'm punny, yes, I am.

This year, I stole some time from the hectic festivities of Christmas shopping, partying, celebrating and seasonal gift making, and tried my hand at this hobby horse candy cane cover/cozy.  I LOVE IT.

The 3 differences are, no bells under the nose, no chain stitch for the rein - just plain red yarn, and I didn't tie it in a bow around the candy cane.  Totally unneeded.  The cane stays in all by itself by hooking into the nose.  In all its glory, here is my take on the pony, together with a pattern I wrote up below if you, like me, think this is a holiday project to give and/or hang on your tree.  Enjoy.



Pattern:    Worsted weight yarn, any color.  Size G American hook.

Ch 25.

Rows 1- 6 :  sc in each stitch and DO NOT make a turning chain at the end/start of the row.

Row 7:  Fold in half.  Ch 1, sc 5 stitches through both loops of each stitch to close neck.

Working in continuous rounds, do not join.  Use the bottom of the nose as your "marker" for each round.

Round 1:  SC 2, DECREASE, SC completely around to bottom.

Round 2:  SC 8, DECREASE, SC completely around to bottom.

(with the first 2 rounds, you accomplished a decrease on each side of the nose; you'll continue with a few more decreases)

Round 3:  SC to top of nose, DECREASE, SC around to bottom.

Round 4:  SC in each stitch around to bottom.

Round 5:  1 SC, DEC, SC 4, DEC, SC to bottom.

Round 6:  SC 1, DEC, around, fasten off, use tail to sew nose closed.

MANE:   Using 2 strands for each fringe (I used horse color and a contrasting color) close up back of head by pulling fringe through both sides from top of head to bottom of head.  At the bottom of the neck, catch the starting tail in the fringe to secure.  When done fringing, cut it all to an even length.

EARS:  Make 2 - leave a starting and ending tail to affix to head - ch 3, 1SC into 2nd ch from hook, 1hdc into next chain; fasten off. For FIRST ear, using both starting and ending tails, pull tails through both sides of the heat to affix, tie in a knot, weave tails through the fringe on mane, and cut to length of fringe.  For SECOND ear, pull tails through to affix, with one of the tails, FASTEN A LOOP TO THE TOP OF THE HORSE FOR HANGING, then weave the remainder through the mane, and cut to size.

For the rein, I did not chain…I used red yarn, and threaded a needed.  Through the bottom of the nose/neck area, I pulled the yarn through one stitch from side to side, leaving the tails hang down.  Using each tail, I separately threaded a needle and pulled one tail around the nose and under 1 stitch at the top of the nose from right to left; then the other from left to right.  At the top of the nose, I tied the tails together, and ran them down the sides of the nose and under the nose, tacked them under the nose with a stitch, tied a bow, double knotted the bow and cut the unneeded  extra length.  If YOU wanted to use chained yarn for the rein, I suggest a thin sock weight yarn, otherwise I think it would look clunky.  

I was playing with working the ears directly into the row where they are placed, but it was frustrating me, so I did them separately.  If anyone can figure out a better way to do the ears, feel free.

Lastly, I affixed with glue the google eyes; one could easily make stitched eyes instead.

If you like the pattern, please leave a comment below.  HAPPY HOLIDAYS.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Never before taken a bathroom selfie...

...but this warranted one.

When I was 10, living in Newark, NJ, I spent a lot of after school and evening time at the Salvation Army "Boys" Club on Providence Street.  It kept me, heck, it kept us all, off the streets and out of trouble.  Part of belonging to "the Boys Club" was going to summer camp, at Camp Tecumseh in Pittstown, NJ.  During the ride to camp, we'd sing on the bus. I loved the bus rides, and really loved going to camp each summer.  And, I was a pretty good singer.  

So when I was 10, I went to camp for 2 sessions - if I'm not mistaken, a session was 8 or 9 days, and I was there for 2x as long.  When I returned, all the girls at the Boys Club were wearing crocheted vests.   I asked them - where'd you get that.  Oh, they all said "I made it myself."  I was intrigued, interested.  I wanted one. Badly.  I wanted to learn to make one for myself.   I asked the ladies in charge if I could learn, and I was told "sorry - we've moved on to other things."   That was that.   I think we learned next how to make paper mache.  Or play bingo.  Or basketball.  Or, we put on a show.  Or....        At 13, we moved, and hanging out at the Boys Club was over for me.

When I was 16ish, I learned how to crochet.  Not because I wanted to make myself a vest - that wasn't a thought in my brain.  I wanted to make a blanket. Blankets. Lots and lots of blankets.  I made granny square blankets for everyone I loved (and some I didn't love) because I was so excited to be doing it.  And, lets face it, back in 1975/1976, acrylic yarn was cheap!  

I continued to crochet - hats, scarves, baby blankets.  Thread doll clothes for my daughter's Barbie dolls (I loved them, and still do - especially knit doll clothes).  Then, comes along the INTERNET - where one can find a treasure trove of patterns, photos, directions, instructions.....for crochet and any craft you can think of.  So one evening I discovered the pattern for this vest. IT BROUGHT BACK SO MANY MEMORIES - and one memory of loss and denial.  I didn't get to make that vest....when I was 10.   But there it was on a GROOVY site.   Now, it can be found via the wayback machine:  http://web.archive.org/web/20001013071332/www.cei.net/~vchisam/groovy/7502.html

In my forties, I decided to make this vest - in all its ugliness.  Worsted weight acrylic yarn, in my favorite color (teal), totally made of chains, totally awful, totally ugly, and, with pompons~!  I love it.  I wear it from time to time (maybe 3 times a year),  It isn't the prettiest item in my wardrobe, but it is one of my favorites.  

So, I call this my "unbreak my 10-year-old heart vest" because it healed a wound caused in my childhood that I didn't even realize I was harboring.  I know, I know - worse things can happen in our childhoods than this - and believe me, they did.  But, THIS is not the place for that...THIS is a place of yarny joy.

I am never so self-indulgent here, and I have not been posting here so much anymore (there are so many better blogs/websites for you to visit), but, I was posting this on Ravelry, and the story behind this vest was just too much to put there.  So, I put it here.

Recently, someone told me a similar story.  She wanted a set of bride/groom "toasting glasses" for her wedding 20 years ago.  "Champagne flutes" in fancy words.  Sounds ritzy titzy, huh?   She was talked out of buying them by her mother (or was it her mother-in-law?) - because they were useless, an indulgence, too expensive, would be used just once and put in a cupboard --- so many "reasons." She said that still, 20 years later, she wishes she had bought those flutes.  I told her about my vest, and how making it in my 40s (and I'm now approaching 60) healed my own little girl heart.  I suggested she treat herself this holiday season, if she needed a REASON, to those champagne flutes - and to enjoy them, and start tradition, and toast her husband every New Year with them.  It will heal her.   I hope she bought them~!




Saturday, October 31, 2015

Book review: Crocheter's Skill-Building Workshop - Author: Dora Ohrenstein

Wow, thumbs up!

This is a great book for anyone interested in crochet.  It is especially informative for beginners.

I like how the book starts with basics and builds, and covers everything I feel a new crocheter absolutely NEEDS to know.  It builds upon skills, stitches, techniques, and explains and illustrates more than 1 way to do things.  For instance, when working in the round, a person may only learn to chain X, join to form a ring, and work into the ring.  However, it can also be accomplished by working into 1 chain, or by forming a magic circle.  Dora Ohrenstein covers and illustrates all three methods.  She also covers spiral rounds, and while she doesn't illustrate tube rounds, she references them and adds several patterns for tubed rounds, including a hat.

Later in the book, she explains and illustrates specialty stitches, textural stitches, lace stitches, and gives some great overall tips.

My only disagreement is that I feel gauge doesn't always matter.  Lets face it, if you're creating a blanket, placemat, potholder, dishcloth -- a smudge larger or a smidgen smaller REALLY isn't going to matter.   If the item is meant to fit, gauge maters,  if the fit isn't an issue, when one uses the suggested yarn weight and hook size, it isn't the end of the world.

Overall, highly recommended to anyone who wants to learn to crochet, or newbies.  Could make a great teaching tool as well.



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Vintage Juliette Dress

I've seen this all over the internet, and at some point, I don't remember where, the pattern was posted as well.  This is an old pattern from .... the 60s?

Unless and until I'm told by the rightful owner to take it down, here it is:


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Joining rounds without "chain 3"

Here is a shout out to Moogley.   I bring Moogly to your attention since I've been telling a few crocheters about this method, and rather than reinvent the tutorial, I direct you to it.  [link at end]

You'll discover a method for starting a round of double crochet without joining with a slip stitch and then chaining 3.  Instead, you begin with a double crochet.  The technique is called the standing double crochet; or is that the stitch name?  I think the name is interchangeable to the stitch/technique.

Basically, its a trade off.  For losing the chain 3, you get a fully fleshed double crochet, but you wind up with a tail at the top of the stitch. That tail must be dealt with as you finish the round, and even if you do not intend to fasten off and use another color, you must, and will have two tails in the same spot - beginning/end - to weave in.  [Note:   both the video and photo tutorial show different colors with each round.]  So, were you to not want to change colors after each round, using this method you would still have to work as if you did - that is, cut your yarn in the last round after the join, and start the next round with the cut yarn.

Is there an advantage to working this way, or is the traditional join, chain 3 best?  That depends on YOU.  Give it a try and see what "look" you prefer.

Here is the link:   http://www.mooglyblog.com/standing-double-crochet-joining/

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Crochet Lalaloopsy

I had not known that the Lalaloopsy didn't begin as a crochet doll.  I was surprised to see her plastic luster sitting on the toy shelf at Kmart.  I guess it was a silly thought, but the notion came to me that the manufacturer of this plastic doll had seen the crochet version --- and quickly realized it had to be the other way around. Ha.

My daughter is 25, and much unlike her mother, her fascination with dolls has been lost since she was about 10.  I on the other hand still have a love for Barbie, and creating knit and crochet outfits for Barbie.  This Lalaloopsy doll, though, has tugged at my heart strings!  

Over here:  http://stitch11.com/lalaloopsy-inspired-doll/    you will find a crochet pattern for an inspired by Lalaloopsy doll.  It is very straight forward and uncomplicated.  Once you get the 2 legs made, you join them and the remainder of the doll up to the head is made in 1 continuous piece.  The arms are made separately and sewn on, as are the hair curls.  Best of all, Corina has offered the pattern for FREE.  You'll find lots of good stuff on Corina's site~!

Here is my first attempt:

a close up of her head.   At the time of this posting, I am working on her arms.


This is the full photo, minus the hair on the top of her head and, oh yea, the arms.


When I worked her facial features, I added a thread, after folding her head in half to determine the center of her face.  The knot of the thread is down where her mouth is to be sewn.  I centered the thread there to indicate the space between the mouth stitches.  This thread was also useful in eye placement.

The buttons called for as eyes are 1 inch round, with 4 holes, and an outer rim.  On this doll pictured, I used buttons that I had on hand, 3/4 inch, 2 holes, with a rim.  I have since purchased the correct buttons on Ebay, as I intend to make a few more of these dolls.

AND FINISHED:

A Google search will bring up plenty of images.   If you go to Ravelry.com, you can search through patterns there too.  Some are free, some not.  One is even knitted~!  You'll also find tips for making her if you search through the projects made from the various patterns.

One SUPER tip is to do something to keep the head sitting without flopping atop the neck.  I think the best idea is to use a few strips of plastic canvas together, crocheted around to make  a sleeve to insert them into, then put it into the body so half sits into the body/neck, and the top half will go up into the head.  Take a few stitches through the neck and this "neck core" to hold it into place.  Thereafter, as you create the head and get it ready to stuff you can stuff around this core.   

I didn't do anything but over stuff the neck in my first lala pictured - and after I added the hair curls, yes indeed, her head got heavy and floppy.   I will take a few stitches around the neck to stabilize it, but next time I'll make a neck core.

Another tip is to use invisible crochet decreases--that is working only through the front loops when making the decrease.  I chose to make regular decreases through both loops.

The manufactured Lalaloopsy line contains sewn "pillow" Lalaloopsies, minis, micros, princesses, mermaids, aliens, a nod to The Wizard of Oz, boys and all shades of skin tones.  There are Laloopsies with yarn hair for play and styling....and accessories and costumes.  

Best of all, this doll can be designed by you and your imagination.  You choose the theme, the clothing colors, the skin tone and hair colors. You can make her in all skin tone and then make clothing.  I think the possibilities are endless.