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?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bride bookmark and Solomon's Knot tutorial

It has been a while but with vacations and some home repairs, I haven't been able to work on the computer much.  Luckily, it doesn't mean I haven't been designing.  I love knit or crochet because I can take with me.

I am currently designing a bride bookmark.  This is part of a commission wall hanging.  I love how she came out.
I decided to give her an overskirt on her dress of Solomon's knot or Love knot lace because of its fantastically lacey look.  So I thought I would do a picture tuturial of this particular stitch.
To start,  pull up a loop.  My pattern calls for a loop that is 1/4 inch long.  (Most patterns will tell you how long a loop is required for their pattern.)  
Yarn over and pull a loop through.
  Now comes the "tricky" part.  Sc in back strand of the long lp created by pulling a loop through above.
Below is a completed Solomon's knot or Love knot.

 Generally, a pattern has you make several on top of  each other as shown below. 
Future rows are generally worked in the sc stitch on top of the knot.  The stitch is not a hard one just a little confusing if you have not run into it before.
Here is a back view of the overskirt to show how neat this stitch works up.
I love how it came out. 
I think crochet and knitting are wonderful.  They are so mobile that they can be taken on 16 hour drives to see the children and the work isn't put on hold until we return.  What do you like about these arts?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Christmas in July

Maybe it is the heat in Kansas this year or just a hankering for snow, but I decided to have a Christmas in July sale at my Etsy Shop. 
So starting July 1st and going through July 19th the prices in my Etsy shop have been lowered and everything that ships to the United States will have free shipping.
This is not just for Christmas themed items but for everything in my shop.
Many sellers on Etsy are having a Christmas in July sale.  Just go to and put in either christmasinjuly (all one word) or CIJ in the search bar and see all the wonderful sales going on in July.  You could get your Christmas shopping done early or maybe buy that item you were hoping would go on sale.
Here are a few other items that can be seen in my shop.  Just click on the link to see everything.
I love to shop for Christmas at this time of year without all the pressure and crowds. Why not check out all the wonderful artists that are having Christmas in July sales on Etsy.