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. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Crochet art

Have you ever thought of creating a picture using crochet?  I have.  I created a couple of wall hanging patterns and a sun catcher that hangs in windows.  Crochet is such a fantastic medium to make three dimensional shapes. 
I do not have a green thumb but with crochet thread I can have roses blooming all year long.  I added a prism at the bottom which gives me rainbows on my walls all winter long. 

A couple of years ago I made a fantastic wall hanging that would add a Victorian flair to any decor.
Here I mixed yarn and thread.  The background snow and edging done around the inside of an embroidery hoop was done in Caron Simply soft yarn.  (I really like how this yarn feels when I am working with it.)  I wanted the snow and edging to look soft and not take away from the Victorian Carolers in the wall hanging.  I think the mixing of the two worked really well.

This past year I have been working on Nativity ornaments that are unbreakable for young hands (i.e grandchildren) to hold safely.  I decided to make a Nativity wall hanging. 
I used Caron Simply Soft again for the background which allows figures to stand out against the yarn background.  This nativity wall hanging pattern shows how to make each individual figure as an ornament for a tree, wreath or wall display.  It also includes a free star pattern that works up quickly and could be added to gift wrapping or as an ornament. The pattern gives options on either sewing the figures to the background, which makes them permanent to the background, or how to use the figures as tree ornaments and add them to the background on Christmas morning.

What do you think about crochet being made into wall art?  What would you like to see hanging on your wall?


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Crochet Nativity set

I have been designing a nativity set since October.  I thought I would make ornaments for our tree since Christ's birth is our reason for having this celebration.  I thought I started in plenty of time but this project has really taken time to develop.  Part of that is because I wanted to design a nativity that would express what a wonderful gift God gave us.

I started with baby Jesus.  Metallic thread can be found at Christmas season at local stores or online.  I grabbed a bunch of gold and decided to make that nativity to hang on a wall or a tree or a wreath.  Of course with grandchildren in mind, I wanted them not to have breakable parts.   My darling grandson was thanking baby Jesus for all his Christmas gifts this year.

Next comes Mary.  When I had my babies, I remember how I adored the baby. I imagine that Mary felt that and so much more since she knew her Son was God's gift to save her entire nation.  I worked and worked to try and get this feeling expressed in a crochet piece.  I stuffed her arms so that she could look down at her new baby with wonder and amazement.  She was an amazing woman in her willingness to carry God's child when she knew that the Jewish law said she should be killed.  Again, I wanted the ornament to be child proof and crochet works so well with that. 

Next comes Joseph, Mary's betrothed.  I am sure that he felt betrayed by Mary when he found out that she was pregnant and he knew it wasn't from him.  Obviously, he cared for her and was going to send he away and not take her to the temple to be stoned.  God intervened with a dream and helped him understand that she hadn't been with any man and that this was God's miracle to our world that she was carrying.  Once he understood, he did an excellent job of protecting Jesus and caring for his new family.  I gave him a walking stick since they had just come from a long walk to the stable where Jesus was born.  I also gave him an oil lamp that would have been part of their everyday life to see the new miracle that God brought to our world.

What an amazing gift of love God gave us in His son, Jesus, knowing the He would not have an easy life and would end up dying as a sacrifice for our sins.   

Well all the patterns have been tested and now are ready for next year's Christmas season so that you too can make children friendly ornaments that can teach them the meaning of Christmas.  What are your favorite memories of this season?  I know one of mine will be my grandson thanking baby Jesus for his Christmas gifts.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Designing for new blessings

I have a new granddaughter that arrived this past year.  What a blessing she is.  (Of course, so is her mommy and daddy and big brother.)

She arrived just after we had spent a week in my Colorado Mountains.  There were Columbine flowers all over those mountains.  I took these pictures because I just wanted to try to design these wonderful works of art.
 Here is another shot from the side view.
These wonderful flowers are so much larger than the domesticated variety but they do not come in all the wonderful color combinations as the tame ones.  I always try to grow these in Kansas.  Here is a shot of one of my efforts.
Now, something that seems to hold true with all my children and now grandchildren is that they are all bald.  I spent two years taping bows to my oldest girl's head just so people knew she was a girl.
I just knew I had to design a beautiful headband for my new granddaughter that would accentuate her beauty.  I have always wanted to crochet Columbines because they are so wonderful so I got to work.
First came the flower which can look so different when it is a side view or a front on view.  So after many, many hours of frogging steps I came up with the flower from both the side view and the front view.  My daughter loved them and suggested just making them into clip barrettes that she could add them to an already existing headband.  (I wish I had had headbands like these when my children were young).
So the pattern continued.  It included instructions for just making the clip barrettes and I continued to work on the band. 

It calls for really soft elastic because babies head are so tender and I chose to buy some of the baby headbands and cut them up to fill the elastic gap.

The pattern has a lot of picture tutorials to help others through the process of making this work of art.
I love how it came out.  God gives us so many examples of his love.  For me, His gorgeous Columbine flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow are one example.  Daughters and now grandchildren are are such precious blessings that even when I doubt that He cares, I just have to look at them and know my doubts are lies.  What have you found that proves God's love in your life?