Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Crochet 2012


Alright Folks! The gifts have been given and here's the crochet round-up!


Michigan State Scarf
No pattern for this one. I think I started with a ch 14, but don't quote me on that. I know I used dcs in each stitch across. I ch 2 in the turning chain, because, for me, that helps to even out the rows.
Added a fringe. Thats about it.
6.5mm Hook & Red Heart Super Saver Yarn


Winter Day Moebius Cowl
Made just like I did the Rainy Day Mobeius Cowl last Christmas.
The yarn was "Sensations Rainbow Boucle" and it was NOT fun to work with. They LIE when they say you need a 5.5mm hook. LIES. SO I ended up working 2 strands together and using a 6.5mm hook. Not bad, but if I could find my 9mm hook, I bet that would be even better. Still turned out nice though.


Pineapple Pattern Shawl
I really love this pattern. Its called the Sidewalk Shawl and it is very pretty. Not too complicated once you get going either. I used Red Heart Super Saver and I stopped short of the pattern because it was big enough. Used a 6.5mm hook (are you seeing a trend yet?)
Very pleased with this one overall.


Magnificent Mantle Shawl
Well, this shawl pattern did not work well with this yarn. Again, I used the "Sensations Rainbow Boucle". My crochet center triangle came out so deformed that I frogged it and knit the stupid triangle. Just adding one increase on the first and last st of each row. Size 3 circular knitting needles for the center and 5.5mm crochet hook for the edging.


Golden Glimmer Fan Shawl
I used this Fan Shawl Pattern and Lion Brand Vanna's Choice yarn (in Topaz). I LOVE both the pattern AND the yarn. Used a 3.25mm hook and it worked up beautifully. Of the three shawls that I made up this year, this is my favorite pattern, and it got tons of compliments while I was working on it. 2 skeins wasn't really enough yarn though.


Seaside Scarf & Hat Set
Oh, look, more of the horrible "Sensations Rainbow Boucle" yarn. Why did I buy so much of this?! I knit the scarf using size 9 knitting needles, with the yarn held double. Improvised the hat with a 6.5mm hook and the yarn held double again. I fully intended to make a set of mittens or gloves to go with the set, but I just couldn't make it happen. Cast on to knit them 3 times with 3 different size DPNs and never could get the right gauge. Crochet just seemed like it would have been a nightmare because I couldn't see ANY stitches. At least its pretty.



Kevlar Survival Bracelet
Yes, you heard me. Kevlar. I stumbled across kevlar string on thinkgeek.com and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to make a survival bracelet for my favorite doomsday prepper, Kevin. I worked the first and last rows around a 3/4" parachute buckle and the rest is dc sts. I think the first and last row are sc stitches for stability. You CAN cut through the thread to trim it, if needed, FYI.

Baby Blues Cardigan
This is another pattern that was super easy and super cute. Its called the Don't Be Square Cardigan and it is 2 granny-style hexagons that are simply seamed on the sleeves and back. SO SIMPLE! I made this in September and didn't write down the hook I used, but I know I used scraps of "Red Heart" and "I Love this Yarn".



Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wait! I'm still here!

Hey everyone! Sorry for the long absence! Its not that I haven't been crafting. Quite the contrary - I've been knitting, crocheting, and sewing quite a bit. But most of the projects are for gifts, and I can't go blabbing about all the pretty things I've made until they have been gifted.

Anyways, yesterday I got the email from the folks over at allfreecrochet.com that one of my patterns has (again) made it into the top 100 for the year!

The popular one this year is something I made last Christmas, and its my Lilac Meadows Hobo Bag.

Anyways, if you'd like to check out the full list of all the top patterns, CLICK HERE.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Boba Fett Fleece Hat Pattern



This is the second hat I've put together for the Star Wars event I'm doing with my local craft group. And what better character to focus on than Boba Fett! Enjoy!


Step 1: Download the Images and print to 8.5"x11" (you may have to scale things)
Step 2: Cut out the paper pieces to serve as your pattern
Step 3: Aquire Fabric/Materials

You'll Need:
1/2 yds Green Fleece
1/2 yds Black Fleece
Scraps of Red Fleece
Coordinating threads (I used Black and Grey)
Sewing Needle or Machine

Step 4: Pin the paper pattern pieces and cut out the fabric. Check which direction your fabric is the most stretchy, and use the indicator arrows to help line up your pattern for maximum stretch-ability.
For the "Earflap Band" use Green Fleece. You'll either fold the fabric, and place the indicated edge up to the fold, or cut 2 mirror imaged pieces out, leaving about 1/4" extra seam allowance at the edge that says "Fold". This should be white. If you're going to line your hat (which I highly advise) repeat this cutting on the fabric that you'd like to line the earflap band. (I chose white fleece again)
For the "Crown" piece, cut 6 identical pieces from the green fleece. If you're lining your hat, cut another 6 pieces out of the lining fabric (I used Black fleece for the lining).

Now, take one of the green “Crown” Pieces that you had cut out. This will be your front panel. Take the “Front Panel Cut-Out” and line it up with the bottom edge and sides as indicated. Cut along the lines and trash the green cut out.  Take the “Front Panel Cut-Out” pattern piece again, and cut out a piece of red fleece.  Keep these pieces together with a pin, or sew them immediately.

Take 2 more green “crown” pieces to be your side panels. Line the “Side Panel Cut out” Pattern piece up with the green “crown” pieces, as high up as you can before the piece starts to taper to a point, This should line up with where you cut out the piece on the front panel, approximately. Cut out the “Side panel cut outs” and trash that piece of green fleece. Then use the same pattern piece, to cut two rectangles from red fleece. Pin the 3 pieces that make up each “side panel” together, or sew immediately.
Cut out the applique pieces from black fleece.

Step 5: Assemble the 4 pieces of your front panel, and the 3 pieces of each side panel. Make sure to have right-sides facing when seaming any 2 pieces together. Next, take the black Applique pieces, and top stitch them on top of the red fleece. The red and black fleece might hang over the edges a bit, and that is fine.

Step 6: Assemble the crown by taking the front-panel and one side-panel and placing them right-sides together. Stitch up the pinned side towards the point. Repeat this with the other side panel. After these 3 panels are assembled, grab another crown piece, put it right-sides together with one of those pieces, and stitch again. Always make sure you have right-sides together, putting your seams on the wrong-side. Repeat this process until all 6 pieces of the crown are connected and make up the top of the hat.
Next, Take your earflap band and fold it in half with right-sides facing (or if in 2 pieces, simply place right-sides together). Seam up the short end(s).
Now, place your completed crown piece into the completed ear-band, with right sides facing. Make sure to line-up the back seam of the earflap band with the center of the back panel of the hat. The ear-flap parts should be facing away from the seam you're about to sew. Stitch the ear-flap band all around, connecting it to the crown.

Voila! You just made a hat! If you're going to make a lining, repeat step 6  for the assembly of the crown panels and earflap band.

Step 7: Attach the lining. Turn the outside of the hat inside-out, and add the lining inside of it so that the right-sides are touching. Pin all around the earflappy side of the ear-flap band. Begin stitching about 1" to the right of the back seam, and stitch all the way around until you are about 1" from the back seam again. Use this gap to turn the hat right-sides out. Tuck and tug until it looks like a hat again, and then stitch your gap closed.

Step 8: Enjoy your super-awesome Boba Fett Fleece Hat!!!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

R2D2 Fleece Hat Pattern

Yes, Ladies and Gents, here it is! Since everyone want to wear a hat fashioned after their favorite droid, I've got the pattern for you!





Step 1: Download the Image and print it 8.5"x11" (you may have to scale things)
Step 2: Cut out the paper pieces to serve as your pattern
Step 3: Aquire Fabric/Materials

You'll Need:
1/4- 1/2 yds White Fleece
1/4yds Blue Fleece
Scraps of Red Fleece
Scraps of Black Fleece
Coordinating threads (I used Black and White)
Sewing Needle or Machine

Step 4: Pin the paper pattern pieces and cut out the fabric. Check which direction your fabric is the most stretchy, and use the indicator arrows to help line up your pattern for maximum stretch-ability.
For the "Earflap Band" use White Fleece. You'll either fold the fabric, and place the indicated edge up to the fold, or cut 2 mirror imaged pieces out, leaving about 1/4" extra seam allowance at the edge that says "Fold". This should be white. If you're going to line your hat (which I highly advise) repeat this cutting on the fabric that you'd like to line the earflap band. (I chose white fleece again)
For the "Crown" piece, cut 6 identical pieces from the white fleece. If you're lining your hat, cut another 6 pieces out of the lining fabric (I used Blue fleece for the lining).
Cut 3 circles out, 2 in black fleece and 1 in red fleece.
Cut your squares/rectangles out of blue fleece. I used the pattern piece to cut 2 square-ish pieces and 2 smaller rectangles (though I only ended up using one). I also cut 2 rectangles that were approx 2"x4".

Step 5: Assemble! Take 2 of your crown pieces, and place them right-sides together, and stitch up one side up towards the point. Grab another crown piece, put it right-sides together with one of those pieces, and stitch again. Always Make sure you have right-sides together, putting your seams on the wrong-side. Repeat this process until all 6 pieces of the crown are connected and make up the top of the hat.
Next, Take your earflap band and fold it in half with right-sides facing (or if in 2 pieces, simply place right-sides together). Seam up the short end(s).
Now, place your completed crown piece into the completed ear-band, with right sides facing. Make sure to line-up the seams at the back of the hat. The ear-flap parts should be facing away from the seam you're about to sew. Stitch the ear-flab band all around, connecting it to the crown.

Voila! You just made a hat! If you're going to make a lining, repeat step 5 all over again with the lining pieces.

Step 6: Decorate! Take the outside of the hat (as opposed to the lining) and pin on all of the Applique pieces that you want to use. You can either top-stitch these on with a machine (I did this using black thread) or hand-stitch them on.

Step 7: Attach the lining. Turn the outside of the hat inside-out, and add the lining inside of it so that the right-sides are touching. Pin all around the earflappy side of the ear-flap band. Begin stitching about 1" to the right of the back seam, and stitch all the way around until you are about 1" from the back seam again. Use this gap to turn the hat right-sides out. Tuck and tug until it looks like a hat again, and then stitch your gap closed.

Step 8: Enjoy your super-awesome R2D2 Fleece Hat!!!

Want it in a different size? Here's how to custom size it!!!

Measure around your head, just above the ears. Use this number as your circumference or "C", mine was 22". Measure from the top of where the hat will be on your head, down to your hairline. This will be your depth or "D", mine was 6". Now measure how tall your ear is, thats going to be "E", and mine was about 3".

See where my pattern has 11" for the width of the earband (when folded in half)? That measurement for you should be 1/2 of C. For the height of the earband, use E, and for the ear flap portion, use E plus 1-1.5".

If you take C and divide it into 6 equal segments, adding a smidge for seam allowance, you'll get the width of each crown piece (Mine was 3.5"). Use D to determine how tall your crown pieces should be, and make sure the top point is always 60 degrees. I found 60 degrees by taking a circle, folding it in half, then folding it into thirds. Each of the 6 slices is a 60 degree angle, and you can trace this to make the top of the point.

The applique pieces aren't very specific for size, so see if they still fit. If not, its very easy to trim them down or simply add more!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Patterns Worth Repeating

I've been working backstage for the current production of Dracula over at The Players Guild of Dearborn. For my part, I don't do a whole lot during the first 2 acts, and its given me some dedicated time to crochet. I had the opportunity to make a couple of projects for myself before the inevitable holiday insanity occurs.


Strawberries & Cream Sweater

Pattern: LionBrand Bolero
Hook: 9mm
Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun in Parfait
(3 Skeins, due to color variation)
I made this project for my step-sister for Christmas 2011. I love working with Homespun and a larger hook, the material is so soft and stretchy! Its also still very warm!
This time, I worked the back and sides as one piece, joining on my yarn in separate places to shape the arm holes. I also worked the arms in the round until I got to the shaping. I adapted my stitch count to make the measurements match up with what it should be.
Love it!!!!




Count Moebius

Pattern: Snowy Day Moebius Hood
Hook: 9mm
Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun (1.5 Scrap Skeins)



Ok, so I made this one for Vicky, as a Rainy Day Hood that she could wear as a scarf or to keep the rain off her glasses. This time I used Stitch Grid #88 from the Compete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs, but worked as a moebius as in the above pattern. Somehow, the people at the theater had never even heard of a moebius. That, combined with everyones fake "transylvania" accents, lead us to joke that it must be the scarf of the notorious "Count Moebius" the most feared crocheting vampire of all!!
Look, we get really bored backstage sometimes, ok? No Judging!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Little Hats for Little Kids


Just wanted to share with you all the hats I made last week for my soon-to-be niece and nephew.

Baby Sherlock Hat
Yarn: Scraps of Red Heart and I Love this Yarn
Hook: 5.5mm
Size: 12 month
Notes: I rarely follow a pattern as its written, but I did with this one and it worked out great! I think I ended up adding a single row to the bottom so that the stripes would turn out the way I wanted, but overall a great patten and a perfect fit.

Simple Granny Hat with Flower
This was something I improvised on-the-fly and I couldn't even tell you now what I did with it. Cute though, dontcha think?


On a side note, I recently got enagaged! Yay! Which means I seriously need to get cracking on the Mantilla Bridal Veil I've been threatening to make for ages. 17 yards of lace...here I come!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hexa-Puff Baby "Quilt"

A long time ago at our local craft circle, I was introduced to the Apiary Puff and the concept of a crochet/knit "quilt" of sorts, using stuffed crochet tiles in a larger blanket design. I fell in love immediately, but I knew it would be quite the endeavor to make a whole project out of them.

Well, when Lydia (a fellow crochetter) found out she was expecting, I knew I couldn't do anything less! I changed the pattern, because I was trying to find a simpler way of making, stuffing, and then sewing together the puffs. Here is what I came up with!

Yarns: Pound of Love (in Pastel Yellow), Red Heart Super Saver (in Coral), I Love This Yarn (in Hot Rose).
Hook(s): 5mm for Pound of Love, 4mm for Red Heart, and 3.5mm for I Love This Yarn
Gauge: Overall gauge is unimportant, however, you'll want all of your hex pieces to be the same size in the end, so with every different yarn you use, test the gauge with different hooks until you match the gauge of your existing hex pieces. I had to use a different hook for each yarn to get the sizes to match!
Additional Supplies:
Stuffing (I buy $1 GOSA Pillows from Ikea and one pillow was enough stuffing for this project)
Yarn Needle
Yarn Scraps


Hexa-Puff Pattern

Back Hex:
Begin with a Magic Ring
Into the Magic Ring: Ch 3, dc, ch1, *2dc, ch1* Repeat from * to * 4 additional times. Tighten your magic ring. Sl st to top of the ch 3 to join.
Round 2: Ch 3, dc in next st, *(dc, ch 1, dc) into the ch 1 space, dc in next 2 sts* Repeat from * to * 4 more times, end with (dc, ch 1, dc) into the remaining ch 1 space. Sl st to top of the ch 3 to join.
Round 3: Ch 3, dc in next 2 sts, *(dc, ch 1, dc) into the ch 1 space, dc in next 4 sts* Repeat from * to * 4 more times, (dc, ch 1, dc) into the remaining ch 1 space and dc into the next st (right before the ch 3 that started the round). Sl st to top of the ch 3 to join.
Round 4: Ch 3, dc in next 3 sts, *(dc, ch 1, dc) into the ch 1 space, dc in next 6 sts* Repeat from * to * 4 more times, (dc, ch 1, dc) into the remaining ch 1 space and dc into the next 2 sts (right before the ch 3 that started the round). Sl st to top of the ch 3 to join. Fasten Off.

Front Hex:
Same as Back Hex for Rounds 1-4. Do NOT fasten off at the end of Round 4.
Round 5: Begin by matching up a completed back hex to your almost-complete front hex, wrong sides together. Ch 1, and sc through BOTH the back and front hex to join the two pieces together. Sc into each st and 2sc into each corner ch 1 space until you're almost all the way around. Stuff a bit of stuffing into the hex before finishing. Sl st to the top of the first sc to join. Fasten off.

Half Hex:
Same as Back Hex for Rounds 1-4. Do NOT fasten off at the end of Round 4.
Fold the hex in half so that the wrong sides are inside. Ch 1 and sc through both halves of the piece, around, placing 2sc in each corner st. Add 3-4 sc stitches along the corners closest to the fold, and sc along the fold as well (this will make edging much easier). Make sure to STUFF your half-hex before you finish sc'ing all the way around.



When you've made all of your hex pieces, arrange them how you would like them and pin in place. Sew them together using a yarn needle and coordinating yarn. Be careful to secure them thoroughly at the corners.

My blanket used 50 Hex Pieces (9 Rose, 9 Coral, and 32 Yellow) and 8 Half-Hex Pieces (6 yellow, 1 rose, 1 coral) and I used scraps of the Rose yarn to add a simple single-crochet border. Final measurements were 24" wide by 30" long.


I LOVE the look of this project, even though it was one of the most involved project's I've ever done. I'd like to make it again using yellow for ALL the hex pieces, and a honey-colored yarn for the joining round (and sewing). I think that it would look like a honeycomb and it would be adorable if paired with an amigurumi bumble bee!



My Grandma also makes Hexagon Garden Quilts similar to this one, and I think that would be a neat arrangement as well!


Lydia Showing off the Hexa-Puff Quilt!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Crochet Lace Masquerade Mask


I sat down to create a lace mask for Vicky’s Masquerade Wedding Reception. I started with my original pattern for the Crochet Lace Mask, and I decided I wanted a slightly different shape for this one. I aimed for a delicate pattern that had a pretty detail at the top center. I also intend to wear it with a stick-handle as opposed to a ribbon, though the pictures show it being held on with a piece of black elastic. I hope you enjoy it.

Lace Masquerade Mask

The below pattern is my original. Please let me know if there are any errors. Feel free to use it for charity, personal, and theatrical use. Please do not sell for profit.

ADVANCED PATTERN. Not advised if you don’t have some experience with crochet lace.
Yarn:
Aunt Lydia’s Crochet Cotton (Sz 10 – Black)
Hook: 1.5mm
Additional supplies:  
about 12” of 20 gauge wire
pair of needle nose pliers
wire cutters
Needle and matching thread
1” wide ribbon (approximately 1yard) OR Decorative stick-handle OR 12-16" Matching Elastic
Small swatch of matching fabric, ribbon, or swatch of crochet made with your yarn.

Abreviations (US):  Sl st = slip stitch; Ch = chain; Sc = single crochet; Dc = double crochet; RS = Right Side; WS = Wrong side

Begin by cutting the length of wire in half. Take each half of the wire and fold in over on itself to make a loop. Twist the loop shut to make an oval approximately 1”x 2”. The twisted end will be the inside corner of the eye of the mask.

Each of the eyes is crocheted separately, however the pattern is the same for both.

Eye Pattern:

Round 1: Sc loosely around the wire, beginning at the inside corner (twisted section) and working around. This took me 70 sc, but depending on your stitch size, you may have to add more to make sure that the wire is completely hidden. Sl st in 1st sc to join.

Round 2: Ch2. 1dc in each sc for 33 st. *2dc in the next sc, then 1dc in the following sc* Repeat * to * one more time. Then finish the round with 1 dc in each sc until you are back at the twist. Ch 1 and sl st in the 2nd ch of the ch2 that you started with to join.

Round 3: Ch3. Skip the first sts of the rnd and dc into the following st. *ch1, skip next st, dc in following st* repeat from * to * until you are at the outside of the eye (opposite the twist). ch 1, dc in next st. Then repeat *to * twice. Again, ch 1 and dc in the following sts. Resume the * to * pattern until you’re back at the twist. 4dc into the ch 1 sp from the previous round to jump over the twist, and join with a sl st to the 2nd ch of the ch2 that began the round.

Round 4: Ch1. Sc in each dc and in each ch 1 sp around. If your work is curling up, use 2sc in each ch 1 space when you get to the outside of the eye area. When you get to the 4dc sts that are over the twist, simple sc into each one and then sl st to join the round. Fasten off leaving a 5” tail.

Ignore the Bobby Pins.
Once you have made both eyes, use the excess wire to bind the two eye pieces together. Leave enough space so that the flat spot made from the 4dc’s in Rnd 3 will touch when the eye piece are laid next to each other.  Use the long tails left from binding off to sew 4-8 stitches together at the center between the eyes.




 
Outside Edge:

Once your eyes have been joined, decide which is the top and which is the bottom. At the bottom center of the nose (with RS facing), join your thread as close as possible to where your line of sewing stitches ends. now the “fun” begins. Please read this all carefully before you begin! (and use the chart to help you!!!)




ROW 1
You’re going to make arches around the edge of the mask. The first/last arch of the round are slightly smaller than the rest so that there is room for them in the space between the two eyes.  You’re also going to vary the use of normal and short arches to fudge it so that you make it all the way around regardless of how many sts you actually have at this point.  I tried putting an arch at the top of the nose and I wasn’t happy with it, so read below for how to “fudge it”. I know it sounds crazy, but it was the look I wanted.
For ALL ARCHES, the finishing sc of the previous arch is also the beginning of the next arch.
First/Last Arch Arch: skip 2 sts, (dc, ch1) 3 times plus one additional dc into following st (for a total of 4 dcs with ch 1’s in between) skip 2 sts and sc into the following st.
Normal Arch: Ch 1, skip 3 sts, (dc, ch1) 4 times into following st, skip 3 sts and sc into following st.
Short Arch: Ch 1, skip 2 sts, (dc, ch1) 4 times into following st, skip 2 sts and sc into following st. (these short arches are best used around the outside of the eyes to help prevent your work from curling excessively).
“Fudging it” Over the top of the nose:
At the end of your last completed arch, sc down the “V” to where you sewed the eye pieces together. Count your sts. Continue to sc up the opposite side of the “V” (onto the other eye piece) for an equal number of sts. Ch 1, and TURN.
Over those sc sts, working back towards the last completed arch, sc2tog, dc2tog, trc2tog, dc2tog, sc2tog. Then sl st to the sc that completed the last arch.  (Depending on how many sts you sc’d, you’ll add more or less of the “2tog” sts, but always make sure you have an ODD number)
After you’re back at the last completed arch, turn, and add an arch over the “2tog” sts from the previous round, and ending with a sc on the first unworked st of the opposite eye piece from where you started.  You may now continue adding arches as you did to the opposite side. Fasten off at the end of the row.

Outline Row 1 - Placement of Different Arches

ROW 2
Try your mask on, and mark one spot on each eye where you want the mask to begin to expand. This point should be between 2 arches on their shared sc st.Because of the shape I wanted, I chose a point directly below the outside corner of my actual eye. Join your thread on the Left eye (as worn) with the RS facing.
Ch 3, *(dc, ch 1, dc, ch 1, dc) into the top center ch 1 st of the next arch. Ch 2, dc into the next sc.* Ch 2 and repeat from * to * until you’re back at the “Fudge” spot on the bridge of the nose. Here, I chose to omit the final ch 2 of the arch, and instead I just did a dc into the sc of the prev rnd.  Into the arch at the bridge of the nose I did (ch 1, dc, ch 1, dc, ch 1, dc, ch 1) and then a dc into the next sc of the prev rnd. Without a ch2, I moved into the pattern to continue the arches. After the last arch of this rnd, ch 3 and sl st to join to the sc of the prev rnd.


ROW 3
Ch 1, (sc, hdc) into the ch 3 space that ended the last row. *(Dc, ch1) into each dc, ch 1, dc, ch1, and dc of the arch made in the prev row dc2tog over the ch2,dc,ch2 between arches, and ch 1* repeat * to * until you’re back at the beginning of the rnd. You may have to fudge a few sts around the bridge of the nose.

ROW 4 - Customizeable
Sc into each dc and ch 1 sp, sc2tog over each dc2tog done in the prev row. Add a small picot (ch 3, sc in same st) between sc sts or a large picot (ch 5, sc in same st) as desired. If you would like to add loops for ribbon (ch 15, sc into same st), I advise doing those in this round, placed over a dc2tog.

Center Picots:
Ch 2, dc into center st of arch, ch 2, sc into next dc st. Ch 1, turn.
Ch 1, 3sc into ch 2 sp, (sc, ch3, sl st, ch 5, sl st, ch 3, sl st) into center dc, 3 sc into ch 2 sp, sl st  to next st, turn.
sl st into the 3 sc’s of the prev row, (sc, ch2, sc) into the small picot, (2sc, ch3, 2sc) into the large picot, (sc, ch2, sc) into the next small picot, and sl st into each of the next 4 sts.
Resume row 4 pattern as before. Fasten off at the end.

Once you’ve finished, I advise using Fray-Check on all of your knots. Weave in all of your ends.
Block, Iron, and Starch your mask! Take time to pin out all of the picots on your piece, if you’re impatient like me, believe me it is WORTH IT to take your time.
Sew on ribbons or glue on a decorative stick-handle as desired. You may want to use a scrap of ribbon, fabric, or crochet swatch to sew on the inside and cover the exposed wires. You can also add glitter, beads, rhinestones, and any other fabulous accessories you so desire! (I didn’t know exactly what I was making when I started, otherwise I would have worked beads into the pattern)


Yarn Note: I’ve completely fallen in love with Aunt Lydia’s Crochet Cotton. The size 10 is easy enough to work with, and because it is 100% cotton, it looks lovely after just blocking it. I highly recommend it for lace projects that need to maintain their shape. Much better than whatever I used on the last mask.



                                                                                                                                            

Project Update: The mask looked great at the wedding! I ended up leaving it on the elastic, and it was comfortable/easy to wear with it on my face or on top of my head the whole night. I never even had to think about "Where did I leave my mask?"! So here's a picture of me in my mask and the BEAUTIFUL bride in hers!


To answer some questions from the comments (and in-person): The mask without elastic weighs just over 1 oz, so not very much thread was used. The mask took me about 10 hours total, including the time it took for me to work out the pattern, make pattern notations, block, starch, and sew the elastic. I made the mask on a day off from work, and did the blocking/etc over the next few days. I prefer the Sz 10 thread because it is easier to work with and more sturdy in the end, however sz 30 would look nice too (though would require more pattern modification).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Digital Photo Preservation Project


My cousin Renae stayed over at the end of June, and she shared with me how she's been working on a project with her family photos. Since digital wasn't widely available until we were both well into college, all of our childhood photos are physical copies, or maybe even a 35mm negative. In her case, the physical photos were stored in "cling-film" albums, which are known to discolor and warp the photos over time. She decided to remove them from their albums and scan them into a digital format, so that she could restore them and preserve them. In addition, she can arrange them into a digital scrapbook, and she can print identical copies of that scrapbook for anyone who wants one.

I've bought similar books from Shutterfly.com, and even the walgreens/rite-aid/CVS photo department can print photo books for you. I thought it was a great idea, but I didn't exactly have the tools to get started. Ok, I have the tools, I didn't have the pictures.

Back when my folks got divorced, my biological mother skipped town with all the family photo albums. The carefully selected prints all disappeared when she did. Luckily, though, she left all of the "reject sleeves". You know, back in the days before digital, when you would take 15 idential shots hoping that one of them would turn out? Right! So you get your one perfect shot, and stick the other 14 back into the paper sleeve that they came in with the little pouch for the negatives. (My apologies to anyone born after 2000 who doesn't understand any of this.)

Well, ten years ago, my sister took those "reject sleeves" and sorted them into boxes, based on what they were labelled (not that those labels were accurate) and today I got into those boxes to see what they held.


My Childhood, in 7 Boxes.

Now, these may be rejects, but they're the only photos of my childhood that I have, so my standards are a little bit more relaxed on whether or not its a "Keeper". I went through all the bins, and I've narrowed it down to probably 200 photos. I took probably 350 photos on my recent trip to Mexico, but hey, beggars can't be choosers.

I spent an hour scanning in some photos, and I've already got about 50 of them done. Its going to be a long haul to get these all digital, but it is definitely worth it.




UPDATE 7/25/12:
Scanned in about half of the total photos and posted a few select favorites to facebook. Renae and I at least are loving the memories! We also really want to get our other cousins together to re-take one of our old photos, just like this family did.

PS: We were totally cute kids!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Summer Shirt Re-Fashion

I bought this shirt on-sale a year or so ago, and even though I loved it, I knew that the way the beads had been attached wouldn't last for very long. Hand-washed carefully for a season, it did really well. Then there was Mexico.

On the way home from our trip to Mexico, the TSA searched our checked luggage, and apparently they opened a bottle of tequila that we were bringing back in order to do a chemical assay (and make sure it was really, in fact, tequila). They didn't exactly close the bottle up tight before they re-packed my bag (aka: shoved everything into it randomly) and it leaked out ALL over everything in the bag. Oh, plus that delayed the bag so it didn't even get on our flight, but anyways....

The lovely beaded shirt got thrown into the washer, with everything else from the bag...oops. Unfortunately, it did not survive its adventure through the washing machine. "But its such a cute shirt!" I thought to myself, "and its so comfy to wear in the summer!"

So, I opted to remove all the beads and start fresh. Lucky for me, the beads were sewn onto a tulle-like mesh fabric, and THAT was then stitched onto the shirt, and just around the edges. Easy-as-pie to remove it and the beads were then cut off and donated to my sister for jewelry-making purposes. I had some black, cream, and baby-pink lace-weight in the house (Aunt Lydia's Crochet Cotton Size 10) and I decided on black for better contrast. The challenge became trying to make a lace piece that fit the odd shape left behind. 





 I ended up making 5 seperate pieces that were sewn together as appliques onto the shirt. (see above left image) The center hexagon and its partner squares all came from Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs and the longer pieces are just 2 rows of dc sts with a shell border around the outside edges. I'm very pleased with how this turned out, and it gave me a great excuse to finish up another lace bracelet to match!


Friday, June 8, 2012

Free DIY Firestarters



So, maybe technically these aren't a craft, but they are super-useful. Plus you see so many different "this is the best firestarter" tutorials, how do you make sense of it all???

Well, fellow pyromaniacs, I'm here to help.
I've assembled my 3 favorite variations on the DIY firestarter and tested them out.

Version 1: The Egg Carton Log
 
Cost: Absolutely Free. These were things you were going to throw away anyways. 
Assembly: Take an old cardboard egg carton. Put dryer lint in it.
Usage:
Make sure some lint sticks out. Set it on fire.
What I like about these: They burn well, and for a good several minutes depending upon how dense you fill them. Plus, they are ridiculously easy to make. It seriously doesn't take me any more time than putting these things in the trash/recycling would. Also, my supply is pretty much self-sustaining. With the amount of laundry at our house, and the quantity of eggs we eat, I make one of these puppies almost as quickly as I can burn them, and I still manage to keep a few extra in stock.
What I don't like about these: They take up too much space if you're packing them to go on a camping or hiking trip. One or two isn't bad, but more than that and you're wasting space. You could always stack your cartons and assemble them on-site, but that's not always easy.
The Verdict: These are awesome to start your at-home fire pit, but not the greatest for camping.

Version 2: Grandma's Lint Starters
Cost: Free. You just have to melt down some used-up candles (see info below)
Assembly: Drizzle melted candle wax onto a handful of lint (over foil). Scrunch it up good.
Usage: Set the not-waxed part of the lint on fire
What I like about these: Grandma uses these for a reason: they work! I've also seen her put the lint into an egg carton before drizzling the wax, and then she'll use 2-4 egg spots as a single fire-starter. Either way, the wax slows the burn down so that these puppies last. Great for starting wet wood on fire, or if you're short on kindling and need to start by setting a larger log ablaze. Also, they are great for day-after campfires, when you're trying to start a new fire off the embers of the last. The lint will catch easily off those embers, and you won't need another match.
What I don't like about these: They're ugly. U-G-L-Y. Not only that, they use up a ton of candle wax to really soak it into the lint right. Meaning, I can get maybe 3-4 in a batch out of a larger used-candle. Also, I don't go melting down candles once a week. You have to wait until you have a few candles to throw away before you can say "today I'm going to make firestarters".
The Verdict: Keep a couple of these on hand for starting wet wood or larger logs without kindling.



Version 3: Cotton-Wax Dis
cs
Cost: Almost Free, the cotton-rounds are 1-2 pennies each
Assembly: Check here for the full tutorial (and see my wax melting method below)
Usage: Tear the round so that the cotton is exposed, light the cotton bits on fire
What I like about these: They are small and compact, which makes them perfect for camping and backpacking. Also, I got about a dozen out of a half-used votive candle, which means I can spend an hour and get a HUGE batch of these. One alone will burn for a good 2-5 minutes. If you're starting a fire with damp wood, you'll need more than one, but thats ok because you just made like a hundred of these things.
What I don't like about these: Again, I don't use up tons of candles, so I don't have oodles to melt down. (Though these guys don't take much at all). Plus the melting down takes its own time. But that's about all the negatives I can find for these. Seriously.
The Verdict: My new favorite fire-starters. I'm still going to make the Egg Carton logs (only because I find that almost easier than throwing away the lint) and I'll use those for backyard bonfires. But these little cotton rounds are my new favorite camping accessory.

Melting Wax for Firestarters:
I'm not one to trash a pan just for wax, so here's what I did without ruining any of my cookware.
Put a kettle on to boil. And preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Take a glass baking dish and place your candles in it. If your candles are already in glass containers, you're all set. If they're not, place them in a tin can before placing them in the baking dish.
Once the water in the kettle gets hot (but not necessarily boiling) gently pour it into the baking dish around the candle-holders. Leave enough room so that the water can slosh a bit without splashing you or the candles.
Carefully place the dish in the oven, and turn the oven off.
Allow the candles 5-20 minutes to start melting. Once they look like they're pretty much turning liquid, you can remove the baking dish from the oven, and the hot water will continue to heat them. I dipped my cotton rounds directly into the candle holders with a pair of small tongs.
Please be careful when handling hot water and hot wax!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pretty Little Sunhat

So, I recently did a few projects with lace, and became completely obsessed with it. I love the way it looks when I finish a piece, like something you would easily find with a high price tag at a boutique. No, I still haven't started that veil, and yes, the projects take about 10 times longer than their worsted weight counterparts. That said, I love the fact that a ball of crochet thread (along with the accompanying project) fits in my everyday purse instead of a separate yarn bag. That said, I managed to lose the 1.5mm crochet hook frequently. So I now carry a hook case with me as well, instead of just tucking it into the skein.

Anyways, this beautiful little Sunhat Pattern is one that I found through Ravelry. It was very accurate as far as sizing went. I used a larger hook, so I omitted one round of the center hat circle. It is sized for 1.5-3 year olds, but since it was a gift for Scarlett's first birthday I wanted to keep as close to that sizing as possible.

Yarn: Aunt Lydia's Classic Cotton Crochet  Thread (size 10) in Orchid Pink
Hook: 1.5mm metal lace hook
Pattern Link: Sunhat PDF
Modifications: I omitted one row of the center circle, and I don't recall which one. I also finished it off early, since I made the shell pattern rows longer than required. I don't think I deliberately planned any of that, I think my fingers were killing me and I just gave up. I worked on it for about 4 hours straight while on a flight layover in Atlanta. Besided, the little flowers on the edge look so cute the way they are!





The Verdict: I love it! Can't wait for Jennifer to get some nice pix of Scarlett wearing it!

And here it is!!! So CUTE!!!