If you want to sing out, sing out, and if you want to be free, be free, cause there's a million ways to be, you know that there are.
--Cat Stevens

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Winter is over!

I finished the Snowflakes!  I guess that means the snow can melt and spring can officially begin.  Sorry to all those of you who have had unseasonably cold weather :p.
All 24

Pinapple Tree Topper

Snowflake by American Thread Company

Snowflake by American Thread Company

Cut-Glass Snowflake ( reduced slightly in size by me)
Flower (improvised)

Irish Crochet Snowflake

Of Seven and Three (My first published pattern)

Old Fashioned Lace (mine)

Pineapple Basket (mine)
SnowFlower  (Mine-not yet published)

Snowflake by Maggie Weldon

Small Pineapple (based on the pattern for the topper)

Icicle (mine)--My husband calls this one Starfish

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Nearly Finished!

All I have to show this week is that I have finished the actual crochet work on my Snowflake project.
I am hoping to have these blocked, stiffened, and have hangers added in time for Friday, and definitely by the end of Sunday.  So hopefully I'll have some major beauty shots for you then.

Also I published the pattern for one of the snowflakes I designed yesterday.  You can find it here, and on Ravelry.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Free Pattern: Of Seven and Three

I missed Monday again this week, because it was my birthday and my husband decided to take me out to dinner which was wonderful.
So in honor of my birthday and to make up for missing two Mondays in a row I am giving you a present, a free pattern.


Seven and three have been believe throughout the ages to be two of the most powerful, and possibly magical numbers.  Religion, alchemy, the occult and various secretive organizations make reference to the powers of three and seven.  When I envisioned this snowflake I wanted to bring a bit of that magic to life in a less conventional snowflake.  The seven points are uncommon and make the snowflake a bit harder to block flat but I really love the result.

Snowflake of Seven and Three

Ch 10 join with sl
Round 1 Ch 3 (1stdc), 2 dc ch in center ring, ch3 *3dc in ring ch3* 6 times Join with sl; {7 groups of 3 dc and 7 ch3 spc}

Round 2 Ch 3 (initial ch3 of a round always counts as a dc unless otherwise stated) dc in nxt 2 dc, ch 1
(dc, ch3, dc) in center ch of next ch 3 ( 2nd ch) ch1. *dc in next 3dc, ch 1 (dc, ch3, dc) in center ch of next ch 3 ( 2nd ch) ch1* 6 times join; {7 groups of 3dc, 7 (dc ch3 dc)}

Round 3 Ch3, dc in next 2 dc, ch 1 (3dc, ch3, 3dc) in next ch3 spc, ch1, * dc in next 3dc, ch 1 (3dc, ch3, 3dc) in next ch3 spc, ch1* 6 times. Join {7 groups of 3dc, 7 (3dc, ch3, 3 dc)}

Round 4 Ch3, dc in next 2 dc, ch1, dc in next 3 dc, ch 1,(dc, ch3, dc, ch7, dc, ch3, dc) in the center ch of the next ch 3 space, ch1, dc in next 3 dc, ch1. * dc in next 2 dc, ch1, dc in next 3 dc, ch 1,(dc, ch3, dc, ch7, dc, ch3, dc) in the center ch of the next ch 3 space, ch1, dc in next 3 dc, ch1 * 6 times join
{21 groups of 3dc, 7 (dc, ch3,dc, ch7 dc, ch3,dc)}

Round 5 sl in the next 2 dc, skip next group of 3 dcs, ch 6 sl in the 3rd ch, ch3 sl in the next dc, sl in the nxt 2 dc, skip next group of 3 dcs, ch 6 sl in the 3rd ch, ch3 sl in the next dc, ch 3 sl in ch7 spc, ch3 sl in 1st ch, ch5 sl in1st ch, ch 3 sl in 1st ch, sl in ch7 spc, ch 3 sl in the next dc. *skip next group of 3 dcs, ch 6 sl in the 3rd ch, ch3 sl in the next dc, sl in the nxt 2 dc, skip next group of 3 dcs, ch 6 sl in the 3rd ch, ch3 sl in the next dc, ch 3 sl in ch7 spc, ch3 sl in 1st ch, ch5 sl in1st ch, ch 3 sl in 1st ch, sl in ch7 spc, ch 3 sl in the next dc.* 6 times join

Friday, March 22, 2013

More Yarn Magic

I spent some quality time with my spindle this week, and I definitely think I am improving.  Spinning is a little like magic.  You take some fluffy fleece twist it up and all of a sudden it becomes something completely different.  Knitting and crochet are pretty magical too but I have little to show you on those fronts, Though I am glad to say I finished my purple headband.
purple headband on me.

I started with 2 oz of fleece for both of these and you can see that I lost much less fleece on the second skein.
This is my favorite picture I think it shows of the texture of the yarn beautifully.

Gorgeous chunky yarn from mud puddle picnic roving.  You can see a picture of the roving and some more yarn I am working on over on Wednesday's post.

I had a bit more black and grey left after I finished plying, so I have tiny mini-skein.
Be sure to drop by Tamis, Wonder Why Alpaca farms, natural suburbia or Crochet Addicts to see more fantastic finished projects.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Treading water

Once upon a time in another life I used to swim a lot.  My favorite thing about swimming was treading water, and I was very good at it.  I didn`t understand why so many people disliked it or why expression "treading water" often has a negative connation.  I have since grown up and realized that like most people I prefer to do more than just keep my head above water.  This week I have really felt that about all I am doing.   I am still not feeling well, and it has affected everything in my life from my school work to my fiber arts and even my blog. I had hoped to post another post in my Why I Crochet series Monday, but I was ill and gave myself the day off. 
I have finished the silly purple headband and two small skeins of yarn.  So I only have a couple of snowflakes and another spindle of yarn I started to show you.  I have also finally made some decisions on some secret knitting/crocheting and so I can get started.  I have 3 1/2 more snowflakes to finish before I have to block and finish them all.  I cast on for a pair of socks to practice some new techniques, one of which is sock making.

I cast on for a pair of socks

Awesome potluck roving

Join me at Tami's and Sue's to see some other great works in progress.

Friday, March 15, 2013

New handspun

I haven't finished much this week. I waas hoping to finsih the little cabled headband but it will have to wait until next week. I have two big projects going on write now the first is my snowflakes, and the second is to learn to spin  --to that end I set a goal to spin approximately 3 hrs per week between January and the end of March at which point I will evaluate how it's been going.
So with no further adieu I want to show the yarns I finished recently.

Spun from Blue-Face Leicester top from The Woolery

This  BFL is the more recent of the two yarns as it was actually finished up, washed, dried and skeind over the weekend.  This fleece is amazing.  It feels like I've always imagined the clouds would feel. For me I loved working with it but I didn`t find it to be the easiest wool I have worked with so far.  My experience is quite limited but for this skein I started with 2oz of fleece and my end skein weighs only 1 3/4oz which means that I ruined a good bit of fiber while trying to make this yarn.  It tended to snarl up while I was working and was more difficult to join.  I had worked with a  corriedale wool and the Icelandic wool previously, and of the three I had worked with so far I feel like BFl was harder to control.  Though of course right now I am not very good at spinning yet and work exclusively in park and draft.  Despite the difficulties I am pleased with the progress I have been making.  I am getting better contolling the twit and adding/removing twist as needed.  I still have trouble with drafting evenly but I think that will come with time.

Spun from Icelandic Top also from The Woolery.

This Icelandic wool is not the clouds of dream like BFL, but it was soft and strudy if a tad on the itchy side.  I could see it used in a hat or outer garment but not in a scarf or directly against the skin.  I found the Icelandic the easiest to draft of three wools I have tried so far.  This skein weighs 2 oz and I started with 2 oz of fiber--I lost very little fiber to unmanagable snarls and found it easier to join fiber.

I am not sure what I will do with all my big funky beautiful yarn yet.  I really like this pillow  I made to display my very first yarn wich was quite slubby.
pillow for displaying homespun
My first ever homespun finished in late december 2012

However one only needs so many pillows, and I would love the have something wearable.  Do you spin?  Are you learning to spin?  What do/did you do with your first attempts?
Be sure to drop by Tamis, Wonder Why Alpaca farms, natural suburbia or Crochet Addicts to see more fantastic finished projects.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thread Crochet Resources

I couldn`t possibly consider myself an expert in thread crochet.  I have only really done 2 things in thread so far:  A fillet crochet panel depicting an eagle in flight ( note to Amy call mom and see if she has a picture or would be willing/able to take one) and my current snowflake project.  Both of these projects are in number 10 thread--ie as big as you can get and still be considered thread.  But I know like me many people are like I was and scared of learning to work in thread so I have put together a list of some of my favorite thread crochet resources. 

  • Thread Crochet and Snowflakes  is one of the my favorite resources so far.  It is very text heavy but has great discussions on every thing from the types of thread to choose to how to hold your work and maintain tension--two things which can be very difficult when beginning to work with thread.
  • The next is a video done my Aunt Lydia's That gives good descriptions of the various thread weights and hook sizes with a few recommendations for where to start.  It's short and sweet.
  •  Thread Crochet at about.com  I have mixed feelings about about.com.  All personal feelings aside, I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention this section on thread crochet.  Amy Solovay --about.com's crochet guide has gathered many resources, tutorials, and free patterns into the same place and it definitely useful.
So what are you favorite resources for working in thread?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Learning to take better photographs

Today I felt like I don`t really have much in the work until I started thinking about the things that need to be photographed.  To be honest taking photos is my least favorite part of doing the blog--I am not very good at it, I don`t really have a space to set aside for it,  we live in demi-basement so we more less always have less than ideal lighting.   So I have decided that my camera and I must try to make friends and we spent a couple hours together trying to make things look good and then I did the photoshop stuff and now it's totally the time I supposed to go to bed and I haven't had the chance to rest or read everyone else's Wednesday posts yet so I am going to keep it short on words today.
Another snowflake of my own design and probably my favorite.  They definitely need blocking.

Closeup of the previous

 American Thread Company Snowflake that I finished this week next to it's pair I finished a couple weeks ago

One of the best pictures I got tonight!

A snowflake I improvised--Not sure I like it much.

Another American Thread company Design I have been working on

Learning to spin.  BFL Top from the Woolery

Cabled Icord headband I mentioned on Friday.


Hermionie the Unicorn I started a while Back.  (Hoping that posting it here will give me kick in the pants).

I need kick on the pants to finish Archer too.  I totally started him back in November with the Mystery CAL.

Just for fun I took a couple pic of Confundus.  He was made with the Lark patter by Stacey Trock
I was having fun with Photoshop

I need to put all these photos on Ravelry, but I am totally tired tonight and I have tests at the hospital tomorrow--Wish me luck so hopefully soon.  Drop by Tamis to see all the great projects.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Why I Crochet:Becoming a crocheter

I meant to get this finished and published sometime yesterday, but I was so exhausted from class and silly Daylight Savings time change that I didn`t get it done.  Sorry.
Last Monday I wrote about how I learned to crochet.  This week I want to try to explain how I went from being a complacent college kid who knew how to crochet to really being a crocheter.  I suppose I should start by giving my definition of crocheter, to me a a crocheter is more than merely someone who knows how to crochet; a crocheter is someone who is at least proficient at the craft of crochet but more important than ability level, in my mind, is that a crocheter is someone who loves crochet who wants to crochet often or always someone who wants to learn of and how to execute many different facets of the craft.  For example my mother who taught me how to crochet, really doesn`t like to crochet, she much prefers cross-stitching or embroidery, and while she always listens politely I am quite certain that the discussions of intricate construction details or of how this or that fiber behaves  in x circumstance are not particularly interesting to her.  My mother is a person who crochets, but has never really become a crocheter.
I want to tell you a story, a story that may seem like it has nothing to do with crochet but if you bear with me, I think it may help me to illustrate how I became a crocheter.  When I was six years old I learned to read.  I remember the even quite clearly even though it was over twenty years ago.  It was the summer of 1992 just before I began first grade.  I don`t know the exact date, but I know that it was in either the end of July or the beginning of August.   On a hot stuffy summer evening, in a tiny village in southern Iowa, my sisters and I were lounging about in our bedroom which was actually two adjoining rooms that took up most of the top floor of the old farmhouse we were renting.   I had been pestering my 9 year old sister to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle to me for about the millionth time that day.  She was doing something else and was thoroughly bored of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and so she told me to go read it myself.  I whined I was certain I couldn't read it by myself but she insisted and so I did.  I probably sulked awhile but when i opened the book I found I could read it.  Every word made sense to me.  (It probably helped that I probably had it memorized from our million previous readings)  But at that instant something clicked in my mind and I could read.  Shortly after that I got my very own library card, and since the library was only a block from our house I spent nearly every after noon for the next 8 or so years there.  For me reading opened up the world. I loved reading.  I loved the stories, the adventures and the things I could learn.  I wasn't just a person who could read--I was a bibliophile.
I tell this story, because for me becoming a crocheter was much the same way.  After I graduated college I married my husband and moved with him to Quebec.  I had come on a visitor`s visa and was waiting for my permanent residency card and work permit, so I had tons of free time.  I was also suffering from culture shock.  I had visited a few times and didn`t think I would have trouble adjusting, but there were many things that surprised and confused me.  I think for me the culture shock was all the worse because it was so unexpected.  My husband worked long hours and I was alone at home.  I had a small box of various mystery acrylics and I began to fill my time with crocheting small things.  Before long crocheting had become much more than something to fill my time, I thought about it all the time, sometimes even in my dreams.  I imagined how one would crochet different things, and I began exploring different facets of crochet.  I was like a teenage girl who had just began a new crush, and I fell fast and hard.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Headbands and Scarves

I  haven't finished a lot this week, since most of my crocheting time is going into my snowflake project.  But I did manage to finish a couple of small things.

I made this scarf as birthday present for a friend.  Instead of trying to guess what she might want I made up a set of coupons that had the following on them :
  •  One evening day of free babysitting
  • One family dinner cooked by me at my house or theirs ( I am sure there will be other dinners but sometimes it's nice not to have to worry about supper)
  • One handmade scarf or similar item in your choice of style and color
This was one of the best received gifts I have ever given, and it was so simple for me to prepare.  I plan to use this technique again.  The scarf below was inspired by a belt/scarf I had made myself in the same pattern, and she admired it greatly and requested a similar one for her coupon scarf so voila.
The yarn used is is knit picks Chroma in colorway prism.  I did 36 repeats of the motif so its more that long enough to be used as a scarf or belt in several different configurations, and I think it turned out stunningly.  I am considering making another one myself in the same color way--with the leftovers.

Pattern Natural Belt

I have been having tons of migraines lately, and had another last night and this morning.  When I finally woke feeling only mildly ill around noon I decided to spend some time knitting and watching reruns of one of my favorite shows  Warehouse 13.  I Learned a new skill---knitting icord which surprisingly easy and made up a couple soft head band which I desperately need since my has been at that awkward length where the front is a bit too short for a full pony tail for quite a while now.  After I got int a nice rhythm my brain began to improve and I cam up with a really cool sort of cable icord head band that is taking me forever to knit and will have to wait until next week for its debut.

Made with this simple pattern

Join me at tami's, crochet addict's for more awesome finished objects

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Snowflakes Galore

I have several crafting goals for this year.  I will tell you about those another, but one of them was to learn more about crocheted lace and to make something that could become an heirloom for my family.  My maternal great-grandmother was very ill later in life and spent most of her time bed-ridden and crocheted a huge number of doilies and tablecloths. I don’t know where most of these are—My mother and |I made a quilt to showcase several of them as a gift to my oldest sister at her wedding. I have decided that I would like a set of doilies to pass on to my children (when I someday have them)—but I am not really the kind of person who puts out doilies. So I have determined that Christmas ornaments are the way to go.  I have planned to finish 24 snowflake ornaments, including a rather elaborate tree-topper before the end of March.

These are pictures I took last week that I haven't shared yet.  I have finished 14 ornaments in this photo so far and have finished 3 more this week that I haven't photographed yet (something to look forward to for next week.)  Since these are all part of one project I won't consider them finished until the project is finished.  Also they all (except the topper which is shown in its blocking photo) are unblocked and un-stiffened.  Several of the snowflakes are my own designs or improvisations and I hope to finish up the patterns and publish them in April.  I would

The thirteen finished ornaments together

Snowflake Ornament by Maggie Wheldon
Miniaturized ( 6 in instead of 10-12)  Cut-Glass Snowflake
Snowflower designed by me 

Of Seven and Three designed by me (needs some serious blocking--and I ag

Irish Crochet Snowflake   This one is deceptively simple; it was by far the most difficult of all of the snowflakes
A smaller version of the snowflake for The Pineapple Snowflake Tree Topper.  It's more or less the same doilies without the pineapple points.

Snowflake by American Thread Company.  This one was also quite difficult; it is one of my favorites.
Pineapple Snowflake Tree Topper