Wednesday, May 28, 2014

April Showers bring May Flowers

After a very long winter and a very dry spring, we finally got some rain in Kansas.  I thought I would show some of the spring flowers in my yarn.

The red bud trees are putting on their bloom.
The iris are glorious.
Peonies are popping out all over.
daffodils are almost done.
My first bloom on my new rose bush.
I found a fabulous artist in a shop on called ClaySoul.  She makes some wonderful stoneware clay toad houses.

Encourage toads to eat the harmful insects in the garden

What a delightful way to add color to a garden when the color of the flowers is gone.  She is a wonderful artist to work with.

What does this all have to do with fiber art?  Flowers are one of my main sources of inspiration..  Their color and beauty is so amazing and I just have to pick up a crochet hook (or knitting needle) and see what I can make that will imitate them.

Right now I am working on a large custom order of Columbine hair accessories and bookmarks in specific colors.  This is a fairly advanced pattern and I love the results.
What is your favorite thing to do with May flowers.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

luxurious lacy iris scarf pattern

April is such a busy month at our house.  Not only is it tax season but this year was Easter.  Now add my birthday and my grandson's birthday and it is hard to get anything else done.  My husband delighted me this year with a gift that brings out the girl in me.  He got me an entire fairy village.  Of course I had to set it up with a carosel horse to visit the village.  Here is how it is set up right now. 

Anyway, April has been fun (except for taxes).  My wonderful niece asked me to spin some angora and Merino wool into yarn and design a scarf for her.  Her favorite color is purple so I decided a lacy iris scarf would fit the bill.  This is my new favorite spinning wheel.
It spins so fast the yarn was made in no time at all.  Then came the design process.  I love lacy knits and my niece lives in Phoenix so I thought a little lace in this warm and soft angora/merino yarn would be appreciated.  Here is her scarf finished.
When it was time for the making a pattern, I looked around for some yarn that would be as soft as the yarn I made, since pattern buyers don't all spin.  I found a new yarn that I love on sale at for a excellent price.  You can get your own here: cascade-venezia-sport-yarn
They even had the perfect color of Orchid Haze.  I love, love, this yarn.  It is so soft and it really shows the stitch definition.  It is 70% Merino Wool and 30% silk to add that shimmer.
I will be buying more.  Well the pattern is finished and back from two separate testers.  One of them is using the pattern to make a pillow top.  Here is a picture of the finished scarf.  I still am looking for a model.  The mannequin works to start the process.

The pattern is for two sizes: 
8 inches (20.32 cm) wide by 67 inches (170.2 cm) long or
    Long Scarf: 8 inches (20.32 cm) wide by 100 inches (254 cm) long. 
I love how it came out.  What do you think? 
All in all, April was a wonderful month.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

St. Patrick's Days gifts to make or buy from Etsy

February flew by and it is March already.  I am almost ready for my new lace knit scarf design to go to the testers.  I thought I would showcase some of my favorite Etsy sellers gift offerings in this post.

If you want to make you own Lucky Irish Leprechaun bookmark, just hit the buy now button on the top right of this post and you will get the pattern.  If you would rather buy it pre-made,  the link below will take you to my Etsy shop.  Here is what he looks like.

There are some wonderful Etsy artist who have some great gift ideas for St, Patricks Day.  I love this baby outfit in QuinnysCrochet shop on Etsy.
She has some darling headbands and hats with shamrocks on them.  She does some wonderful work.  Well worth the visit.
Another Artist's shop that I love is Crochetbymsa on Etsy.  She has some wonderful doilies.

She has a couple of doilies that feature shamrocks.  I love how the one above came out.
NadiasKnits has this delight green tam that is adjustable for head sizes.  Just the bit of green needed for St. Patricks day.
knitbypearl on Etsy has this wonderful Emerald green bow headband which should keep all the "pinchers" away.  I love how it looks.
PennyRugsPlus in Etsy has this gorgeous kit that comes with everything you need to make this delightful table mat including the floss.
Another shop I love is SnowNoseCrafts on Etsy. This shop features some delightful kitchen towels that are made to hang on a draw pull or stove handle.  This one features shamrocks.
What a gorgeous way to brighten your kitchen in time for spring.
Etsy is full of some wonderful fiber artists and it is hard to narrow the list of my favorites down to just a few.  With spring just around the corner, St. Patricks Day makes a fantastic transition between winter and spring and it is so full of fun traditions.  What is your favorite tradition around this holiday?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Valentines day lace knitting and crochet patterns

It is almost the end of January and still very cold in Kansas.  I love it.  We have a wonderful fireplace and I love to sit near it and design a new lace design. I adore lace knitting.   I am currently working on a purple lace knit scarf out of some home spun Moreno wool and angora bunny fur.  I love how it is coming out.  I will show pictures of the new design when I have it all blocked out. 

With Valentines coming up, I thought, why not showcase some lace knit and crochet designs that have roses and hearts as a theme.  I designed a warm wrap few year ago using Moreno and  angora bunny fur.  Any lace weight yarn will work with this pattern and I used size US 11 - 8.0 mm needles.  Hearts and Diamonds wrap is a simple design for anyone who has done lace knitting before.

Along the same theme I designed Pretty in hearts using Kid Seta yarn and size US 8 - 5.0mm needles.  It is a wonderful wrap that will take the chill out of summer evening and dress up an outfit with no sleeves.
The next wrap pattern, 2 hearts together, is just as light and airy using the same Kid Seta yarn and needles but uses nupps in the design.  This pattern is for the more experienced lace knitter.  I think either this pattern or Pretty in Hearts would make a wonderful wedding wrap for those strapless wedding dresses in a white lace yarn.
I also love to crochet and I love roses.  Unfortunately, I do not have a green thumb and have had a hard time getting roses to bloom outside my home.  So I designed a sun catcher using roses as a theme.  If the crystal prisms are added to the pattern as suggested then all winter long I have rainbows on my walls from the drop crystals.  I love the effect and it certainly brightens a winter home.
Finally, I created a thread crochet doily pattern that includes both hearts and rose buds.  I love how this pattern came out.
What is your favorite activity for this time of year?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas knit and crochet patterns.

Time has zipped by here in Kansas and it is now my favorite time of year.  The weather is very nice and cold and I get to sit by my fireplace and knit and design another scarf, fingerless gloves and other warm accessories. Here is the set I designed last year.

Right now I have these two patterns at a special price for those who would like to buy them both at my Etsy shop bundle price sale.  I have several patterns at special bundled prices in this section including the wizard of oz series of patterns

 I love the lights on houses and Christmas trees.  I love getting the nativity sets out and using them all over the house.  I have so many that I had to design a new one that can work as either ornaments or as a wall hanging.

I  love the old Christmas carols that are playing everywhere. Naturally, I had to make a wall hanging to commemorate that love.
What makes Christmas so special to me?  I think it is the wonderful and very powerful message sent to us via angles to the shepherds on a hill many, many years ago.

The gift that our family celebrates at this time of year is God's gift of His Son to us.  What a miracle He gave us. When the world looks like it is spiralling out of control, I have learned to lay it at God's feet and sit back to wait and see how he weaves it into a beautiful solution.
What is your favorite part of this very special season?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

catching up and a Front Post dc and Back Post dc tutorial

It has been a very busy summer.  We went to see our granddaughter's 1st birthday which is 1600 miles away.  What a blast it was.  Then we went to the Colorado mountains to camp, which is always so inspiring for my work.  Something about going into wilderness areas that show God's amazing creations. There are so many birds, flowers and wildlife.  Here is a picture of of the area that we camped at.

After all the trips I thought I would do some picture tutorials on different ways to crochet.  Did you know you can crochet not just in the hole that is made by the stitch but also in the Front loop and back loop on top the crochet hole?   Front Loop and Back Loop work is done in the loops on the top of the crochet.  Every crochet stitch has two loops on top of the work weather it is sc, hdc, dc, tr, etc.
This particular stitch is great for adding a second layer or can be used to make a line design in the crochet such as the tail of my mermaid pattern.  By working in the front loop and back loop depending on the side being worked brings out the shell pattern.  These are common stitches that are used.

Today, I am doing a picture tutorial on how to make Front Post dc & Back Post dc since these stitches will be in the newest pattern I am designing. All my patterns include picture tutorials on unusual stitches so that any one can do them even if they don't know that particular stitch.

Again every crochet stitch has a post underneath the crochet hole that is usually worked.  The post is the main body of the stitch and is below the hole that is usually used.  In dc the post is rather long and easy to show so I will use it to for a picture tutorial.  Just know that even sc have post under the hole and this stitch can be done in them as well.

To make a front post dc (FPdc), instead of inserting the hook into the hole of the next stitch, insert the hook from the front, around the post of the stitch in the row below.  Bring it back out to the front of the work and make a double crochet stitch.



If starting the row with Front Post or Back Post work the turning ch should be a little shorter since the dc are actually worked in the row below and the resulting row will be a little shorter that a normal crochet row.
Back Post work is done by inserting the hook in the post below going from the back of the post, around the post and come out on the back side. 

Here is a picture of both the FPdc and BPdc worked alternately.  It produces a fantastic texture and can make a wonderful woven stitch pattern.

Here is a link to a Craftsy blog which uses this stitch to make a woven pattern. Crochet Basket weave Stitch  If you have not joined, I would encourage you to join.  It is free and there is so much to learn.
I hope everyone else had as great a summer as I did.  What are some of your favorite stitches to crochet? 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A little boutonniere for a little groom

I love designing my different characters for wall hangings and bookmarks.  I make them out of thread crochet using a size 1 (2.25mm) hook.  This is a larger hook then is usually used for thread but I need that size to get the gauge I need. ( I am also hoping it will encourage yarn users to try thread.)

One of the challenges as a designer is to make everything on a very minature scale.  Since it is already done in thread the character is very "minaturized" already.  When I had finished this particular character which was a groom, one of my pattern testers suggested that he needed a little color and wouldn't it be wonderful if he had a boutonniere.  I agreed.  Now the challenge was to design a really tiny flower.

The color, of course was based on the bride's colors.  The smallest flower I had on the bride was on her headband, so I started with that.
I tried that on the groom's lapel and it was still too large.  After trying several different ideas, I just couldn't come up with anything that tiny.  So I went to a smaller hook.  I don't like switching hooks in mid-pattern but that was the only way to get it small enough to fit the groom.  So I added a new hook size to the pattern for this particular part.

I love my thread crochet pattern tester.   We communicate by e-mail as she lives in a different state.  Her name is Carol Henderson and she does an excellent job of finding mistakes and helping me come up with ideas.  She is an accomplished thread artist and she wanted to make a rose bud.

She came up with a rose bud design without changing hook sizes that I loved and sent me this wonderful picture tutorial to add to the pattern.
 Thank you Carol.  The pattern includes written instructions that follow these steps.
The steps start with a magic circle so that there is no hole to deal with.  The magic circle is a wonderful technique.  It starts with a slip knot that is not tightened until the end.  In fact the work is done in the circle that will become the knot.  Here is how it is done.
The start of a slip knot starts like this.  Do not tighten but grab a loop from the long end and bring it in through the circle.
Make a single crochet and start making your stitches into this circle.

When all the stitches are completed, the short end is pulled tight and now there is no opening.

I love how her rose bud came out and it is now, with her kind permission, part of the pattern.
This is just one of the many, many challenges that come with designing any knit or crochet pattern.  I am really thankful for my wonderful pattern testers who help make my patterns great.  Here is a picture of the groom with my flower and smaller hook but the pattern gives you either option in making the boutonniere.

This just proves that two heads are definately better than one.  I love how he came out.  What do you think?