Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Crochet Lace Veil Project

So some of you have followed my journey in making my own crochet lace as the border for my wedding veil. The wedding is over, and the professional pics are in, so here's the top to bottom summary of everything I did.

Step One: Decide on a pattern. I had several attempts, seen here and here. I settled on this pattern that I found online. One of the biggest factors in the decision was the way the lace works up one motif at a time, as opposed to needing a base chain that is 17' long. HUGE advantage and I am very glad I went the motif route.

Step Two:
Make the lace! Or at least until it is approximately the right length.

Step Three: Once you have what you suspect to be the correct length of lace, grab yourself a scrap piece of fabric or tulle, and cut it to the dimensions you want the final veil to be. Then starting at the beginning of your lace piece, pin it on around the edge. This is dual-purpose. It helps you make sure you have the correct amount of lace, while at the same time, it lays the lace flat (at least in perspective to the fabric) so that you can make sure you haven't twisted it before you join it into a round piece.

Step Four: Make more lace as needed. I found out that I was about 12-18" short after pinning my lace onto the tulle template. I was definitely bummed, but at least it looked pretty!

Step Five:
Now that you're done making all the lace, join that lace into a round! Add another row if you pattern calls for it, or if you want to create a more stable section for sewing it on. My pattern had a second "round" that was done in the back ch loops.

Step Six: Remove all of the lace from the template piece. Wash it GENTLY in some warm water with just a dab of dish soap. If your lace color matches the color of your dress (or whatever color you want it to be) move to Step Eight. Otherwise, you're going to want to dye your lace.

Step Seven: Tea Dye your lace. Start by test dying any samples of your thread, to make sure you know how much tea and how long it needs to soak to get the desired shade. Dye it and let it dry completely. If you are insane, you could block it now while the lace is wet. However, I am not that kind of crazy, and since my lace was cotton, I decided just to iron it.

Step Eight: Press your lace. Enjoy watching it unfold into something beautiful! Be warned, now that your lace is nice and flat and arranged, it is probably even longer than it was before. The template you made before may be too small, depending upon how much your lace stretches.

Step Nine: Call in reinforcements! Extra sets of hands will help with the remaining stages!

Step Ten: Cut the veil material (sheer or tulle) to approximately the right size. We made mine quite a bit bigger than the template. We folded it into quarters, weighted it in place with some heavy books, and used the edge of grandma's dining room table to get a nice gentle oval shape.

Step Eleven:
Pin the lace around the edge. We found that once we pinned it, our tulle was too large. We had to un-pin everything and trim just a little bit of the tulle to get it to fit correctly. I am sure there is a way to avoid this, but for us, it didn't take too much time, and it worked out alright. It was easier to cut down a little bit of tulle than to have too little - since the lace couldn't easily change!

Step Twelve: Carefully sew the lace around the edge. We hid our sewing stitches in amongst the crochet stitches, so we just used a matching ivory thread. Tiny stitches!

Step Thirteen (optional): If you want to wear the veil on a comb, decide how you want to fold it an wear it. I found some great resources to help with this step. Wrap the comb in scraps of tulle and sew them in place, then gather your veil gently on a thread, and sew the gathered section of veil onto the comb. Add sparkles if you like!

Step Fourteen: Wear it with Pride! Pass it down to friends or family who want to wear it too!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Woven Plaid Baby Blanket

This baby blanket is so darn CUTE! I love the technique involved here as well, but I will be honest, I was a skeptic when I first read about it. I decided a baby blanket was the way to test it out.

It is incredibly simple and fairly quick to work up. You're basically making a mesh stitch blanket that is striped, and then weaving the exact same stripe pattern perpendicular through your mesh work. SO EASY!

Here's what you came for!

Hook: 6.5mm
Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver (~260yds each of Soft Navy, Soft White, Light Blue, and Country Blue)
Additional Supplies: Yarn Needle (or bobby pin)
Pattern: Woven Scotch Plaid Afghan (also available on Ravelry)
Here is the grid for the striping pattern I used. It turned out MUCH larger than I had anticipated, but I still think it looked great in the end. Next time, I might try a simpler striping pattern.

I started mine with a base chain of 123sts and went until it was about 36" x 36" Large. I added a row of SC sts along the outer edge to hide my tie-ins. If I were doing this project again, I might wait until after the weaving to do that, as there was a little change in the shape during weaving.

I marked the middle stitch and cut some of my weaving strands about 60" long. People on Ravelry complained about not having enough excess, and I felt like more was better for this project. Using the middle stitch to mark the middle of my weaving pattern, start weaving with a yarn needle. You weave with a single piece of yarn, doubled over, and you'll do two of these into EACH mesh stitch - alternating your ups and downs. You'll end up with 4 strands in each mesh (two double-strands woven).

I changed my mind and ended up using the light blue as the center section,
but you can see the first double-strand being woven here. 

As you weave, be careful to pull on your blanket. The weaving snugs it up a bit, and you're going to want to keep it as even as possible. I found that it was better to work on a table or another flat surface for this part. Unfortunately it is not a lap project. Also, after my first few strands proved to be a good length, I had my hubby build me a template so that I could cut 20 strands at a time.

When you're done weaving, tie your strands together top to bottom and then again left to right. After that, you can cut your fringe to any length you desire and you're all DONE!

Like I said, this project turned out so CUTE! And as a bonus, I got it completed and shipped off before the baby arrived. The expectant mommy and daddy got it yesterday and they loved it!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tea Dye for Crochet Cotton

Those of you who follow my blog may be familiar with the ongoing saga of my crochet lace veil. I posted some of the samples I made here and here, and I have outlined my progress in photos over here on imgur.

To catch you up on things, I decided to crochet the lace to go around my bridal veil, and I've been working away on this for about a year, if not longer.

Well folks, this past Saturday, I finished the lace! 18.5 FEET of beautiful Sz 20 lace.

Except that the lace is white, and my dress is ivory. So I needed to tea dye it to match my dress.

Now, I had never tea dyed anything before, but I did have a sample of fabric from my dress shop, so that I could at least have a goal color to work off of.

I read about tea staining over on Dahlhart Lane blog, and I decided to use some of my old lace samples to run some tests.

I used 1 teabag for 2 cups of hot water. With the teabags and the lace all in a mason jar, I added the water and shook it all up. For the record, teabags EXPLODE when you shake them in a mason jar. Don't do what I did.

I removed my lace samples after 5, 10, and 15 minutes in the tea bath. Anticipating that they might be darker when wet, I waited for them to dry before comparing them to my dress fabric.

Once I knew the time I needed (5 minutes or less) I washed up my veil lace. I wanted to get rid of any residual oils from my hands, and any incidental dust or dirt. I was SHOCKED at how dark the water got. So GROSS! So I washed and rinsed the lace (using a dab of dish soap) three times total, just to be sure.
Finally it was all nice and clean again!

I prepped my bowl by adding 3 teabags and 6 cups of hot water, but I let the tea steep for a few minutes and then I removed the teabags. I was SO nervous about dunking my lace into the tea! All that hard work! But I set the kitchen timer for 4 minutes and placed it into the tea bath. After 4 minutes, the lace matched my dress sample fabric perfectly. Knowing it would dry a little lighter, I gave it another 30 seconds in the tea bath before I pulled it out and rinsed it. After a thorough rinsing, I washed it with a dab of dishsoap and laid it out to air dry. I chose not to block it at this point because, dear LORD, can you imagine pinning all of that. NO. no no no no no.

Once it was dry, it was a big ugly wad of creamy ivory. I got to work ironing it. This was the most amazing part. Time consuming, but amazing. It was so great pulling this ugly wad of material, pressing it, and having this lovely bit of lace appear on the other side!

So it is crochetted, dyed, pressed, and ready to be sewn onto tulle. I'm going to try and work with some family this weekend to get it completely finished!!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Thick and Quick Baby Blanket

So my one of my cousins is due with a baby girl, and had her shower this past weekend. She said her nursery theme was pink and brown, and I sent her this blanket for it :)

This is the second time I have used this pattern, and I adore it, especially when worked with a super-bulky or a double-strand of yarn.

Pattern: Stashaholic's Brain Dead Afghan
Yarn: Loops & Threads Impeccable in Neopolitan (2 of their "Big" Skeins, held 2 strands together as one)
Hook: 10.0mm
Pattern Notes: Made my starting Chain of 96 sts. Worked until I started to run low on yarn, then added the tassels on the ends of the zig-zags. The tassels were a suggestion from Grandma, and I honestly think that they are so cute. They really make this blanket unique!

PS: My Hubby got me a new camera for Christmas! Its a Nikon DSLR and I am so happy with the beautiful pictures of my projects!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Quiet Books for Kids

So this what my giant undertaking for Christmas. I decided to make quiet books for my niece (age 5) and my nephew (age 2). I love giving quiet entertain-yourself gifts to kids, and of all the ideas, this one seemed the best for travel also. I don't have kids, so I did a lot of guessing and research to figure out what would be best for the kiddos, and I learned alot.

All of the books are grommetted and then joined with those metal embroidery loops, so that pages can be added, removed, or exchanged as the kid grow in and out of things, or as pages need repair.

For the 5-year old, some things detach from the book, but have a storage space in one of the pages. For the 2 year old, everything is tied down.

Ok before we get into the pictures - Things that I learned:

#1 - Grommets only go through 2-3 layers of felt. I should have done the decorating on MOST of the page, but left a border for the binding only.

#2 - Sew EVERYTHING on. I glued a bunch of things to save time and energy, and those were the first things that got ripped out of the book. Oops. Live and learn I guess. Most of them were decorative elements more than anything, but if I could do it all over, I would just reduce the number of pages and sew every last thing.

#3 - Page size consistency! I bought packs of felt as well as individual sheets. I also cut  some from larger sheets of plastic and/or felt. Even though all of them were *supposed* to be 9"x13" - the only ones that were actually sized right were the ones I cut out. A template that was 8.5"x11" (with a 1" margin for binding) would have saved me SO much trouble in the end. But I didn't find out until I went to bind the books, and by then it was too late.

Ok, so here are the books!

Sophia's Cover Page!
The books velcro shut.

I-Spy Page
Made of plastic scraps I had and filled with beads, buttons and glitter.
I took a photo of everything and included a "find me checklist" in the book.
Inspiration Book

Everybody needs practice tying their shoes!

Clock Page & Telling the time!

Garden Pages

Flower Garden
The petals are individually button-holed and she can mix and match them.
Inspiration Image

Veggie Garden Page
The carrots are tethered in with ribbon but they can be harvested!
Inspiration Page
Dress Up Page
Pattern Here

Kitchen Page 1
The Grocery Bag holds all the food cut-outs.
Pattern page

Kitchen Page 1
to show the frying pan and eggs!

Kitchen Page 2
The plate, napkin, and silverware are sewn/glued down.
Pattern Page

Sandcastle Page 1
The pieces are stored in the bucket.
Pattern Page

Sandcastle Page 2
Pattern Page

Luke's Cover Page
Lion Page
I really didn't get this, but I saw it in a number of places.
As it turns out, Luke was captivated by this page!
Inspiration, Another Inspiration
Bead Page
I double stitched each end of each strand, plus the border!

Buttons Page
"Touch and Feel" Page
This page started out with a spare piece of trim, and I added the pom-poms to bring it together.

Shapes Page Inspiration

Zipper Page
Inspiration, Inspiration, and more Inspiration

Froggy Page
The flies are made of the fluffy part of velcro.
The loops/tough part is on the other side of the frog's tongue.
Inspiration Page

Matching the Socks Page
I don't remember where I got the idea for this one, but the socks are
tied down inside the basket.

Airport Page
The kids know that Uncle works at the airport, so Luke got this page.
I used the pattern provided on this site, and added the person too.
Because this is the baby's book, everything is attached.
Roads Page
I saw roads pages in other places, like here but I didn't like them.
I added this one at the end. I got the cars and tied the ribbon onto the underside.
Then I glued velcro to the car and to parking spots on the page.
I don't know if you can see, but I sewed the roads down with yellow lines down the middle.