Sweet Home

November 19th, 2016

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

I remember very well the sweetness and simplicity of childhood and the images from that time that are with me to this day. Children’s book illustrations and some idealized picture of home are strong in my memory. I think that’s where a lot of the designs for Cute Crochet World came from.

My current project is an exhibit called Celebrate Doilies! which will debut at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council Gallery in Stephenville, Texas, in July and August 2017. In addition to a lot of doily history (read more here), the exhibit will include my art quilts made with vintage crochet.

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

At first I couldn’t figure out how to incorporate this thread crocheted placemat into a quilt. My mind apparently mulled over this problem while I wasn’t paying attention. Some days later, my perception of the piece suddenly shifted from a placemat to picture frame. After that, it was easy to decide what picture to frame: a childlike picture of home.

Strip-piecing left over from a previous quilt seemed perfect to frame the frame. Luckily, I still had enough cut strips to fill the gaps.

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

Cute Crochet World came to my aid, with patterns for crocheting the “Cozy Home,” “Cherry Blossom” (I used green instead of pink), “Summer Sun” with clubby rays, and “Cutely Cloudy.” I made several trees and two suns, before finding the right combination of size and color.

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

When button time came around, I turned to family and friends for input on which buttons I should sew around the edge of the placemat: mother-of-pearl or blue?

My mom thought the house looked like it was on an island, the lace edges with blue underlay seemed like a beach, and the dark blue buttons were the deep blue sea. I liked this image very well.

The consensus from Instagram and Twitter was that the blue buttons looked better than white, but some friends said they thought a lighter blue might look best.

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

I posted the comparison of dark blue and lighter blue buttons. @franloveswool summarized my own feelings, saying, “This is trickier than I thought.” @fairetreasures said that the dark blue gave the piece great contrast, and the lighter blue looked nice because it picked up the colors of the house.

What to do? Mix light and dark? I tried that, but meh. Wait. Why just one round of buttons? Why not a round of lighter blue and a round of darker blue? Yes, that was the solution. Thank you, friends and family!

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

No. 10 Crochet Cotton Flowers are Perfect Quilt Embellishment

November 1st, 2016

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson, detail

I wondered and planned and fretted about how to strongly stabilize a quilt so it would hold up a bunch of crocheted flowers.

As it often happens, my projects change as I work on them and begin to understand how they are developing. So instead of my original plan of crocheting flowers with yarn, I decided to crochet with No. 10 crochet cotton. The flowers turned out to be so light, the quilt didn’t need extra stabilizing. Yay!

My collection of Aunt Lydia’s No. 10 crochet cotton had the perfect colors to make the “Five Point” flower from Crochet Bouquet (above), and “Forget Me Nots” from Crochet Garden (below).

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson, detail

You can use crocheted flowers to embellish bed quilts, too. To attach them, use sewing thread to sew all around the flower’s edge. Tack down the flower center. Use your judgement whether you need to add more stitching between the center and the edges of the flower.

Most of the time, sewing thread disappears between the loops of crochet, but use a sewing thread that closely matches the color of your crochet thread or yarn, just in case.

The wall hanging is called Evolution of Minimalism. You can read more about it at Suzann’s TextileFusion.

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson, detail

Three Stories, Three Stories

October 12th, 2016

TextileFusion wall hanging, Three Stories

This wall hanging is called Three Stories, and I also have three stories to share with you in this post.

First Story

I’m putting together an exhibit called “Celebrate Doilies!” which will run from July through September 2017. The exhibit will feature photos of doilies and stories about their makers.

For the next several months, I will be collecting photos of doilies and stories about them and the people who made them for the exhibit, which will be at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council, River North Gallery, in Stephenville, Texas.

This means that if you have family doilies hidden away in drawers or proudly displayed in your home, I would love to hear from you. This blog post has lots more information.

To learn even more about how you can join in this project, visit www.textilefusion.com/doily-heritage-project and click here to see a sample doily story.

TextileFusion wall hanging, Three Stories

Second Story

The three stories of the wall hanging called Three Stories are the stories of the filet crochet house, the vintage quilt top, and the doily that I cut into quarters to embellish the corners.

I picked up the cute filet crochet house from Ebay. It may be a placemat, a table mat, or a chair back cover. Whenever I find vintage crochet for sale, I consider it having been released from its previous story. My job is to give it a new story.

Same with the vintage quilt top—I found it at an estate sale. The piecing and stitching are far from perfect, but the overall effect is charming.

The white doily in the corners is also from Ebay. The thread is small and the stitches are firm and well-made.

We don’t know anything about the people who made these things or what their lives were like. It’s fun to imagine the history of the doilies and the quilt top.

Three Stories and other wall hangings that feature doilies will also be part of my exhibit next year.

Third Story

Three Stories seemed a little plain to me, so I decided to fancy it up.

How? With crocheted flowers! And buttons!

A couple of crochet flower books I know came in handy. I crocheted “Sweetheart Rose” from Crochet Bouquet, and “Twirl Center” and “Paired Leaf Frond” from Crochet Garden.

I arranged them in an old-fashioned garland-y way and appliqued them to the quilt during last Sunday’s Dallas Cowboys football game. The Cowboys won and Three Stories is finished.

Next, I’m looking forward to hearing your doily stories—one, three, or however many you have!

TextileFusion wall hanging, Three Stories with Twirl Center Rose

Another Wall Hanging with Crocheted Flowers

September 25th, 2016

Five Point crochet flower from Crochet Bouquet

The Five Point flower from pages 85–86 of Crochet Bouquet was perfect to embellish my latest wall hanging. The Five Points in the photo are made with Aunt Lydia’s No. 10 crochet cotton. They are really small and cute.

I’m making the wall hanging to enter in a juried show with an evolution theme.

You can crochet three different sizes of flowers from the Five Point pattern, one size growing out of the previous one. To me, that is a visual way to show how something might develop over time.

The quilt design also goes from plain to fancy, another sort of visual evolution. Here’s a peek at one of the steps in this wall hanging’s evolution.

Another TextileFusion wall hanging in the works

Crochet Kaiser Roll Hints

September 13th, 2016

Crocheted Cheese Sandwich on Kaiser Roll

Thanks to Lindsay for asking about the Kaiser roll in Cute Crochet World. It’s part of the “Cheese Sandwich on a Kaiser Roll” pattern on pages 56-58.

Crocheting the Kaiser roll, I ran across two places in the instructions that need correcting:

  • Page 57, third column, second paragraph, 4th and 5th lines down should read “transfer ch-2 lp of Rnd 2” not Rnd 1.
  • Same page and column, end of Rnd 6 should read “join with a sl st to ch2 at beg of rnd and end off OR cut yarn and needle join.” The words “and end off, or” are missing in the printed instructions.

You can find corrections for all of my books by following the links in the sidebar of this blog. If you find a mistake in one of my patterns, please let me know and I’ll list it in the corrections pages.

Alright, back to crocheting a bread roll. The top of the roll has the subtly swirled, puffed look of a real, yeast bread bun. Here’s how to get that texture.

In the “Read Me First” section of Cute Crochet World, page 8, I wrote about the “first stitch” and the “next stitch.” It’s so important in crochet to pay attention to details like this in the instructions, and be able to recognize them in your work.

Crocheted Cheese Sandwich on Kaiser Roll

In this photo, Rnd 1 is joined with a sl st in the first sc of the round. To begin Rnd 2, ch 2 (which counts as the first hdc), and hdc in the first stitch, which is the same stitch you sl stitched into to join Rnd 1.

Crocheted Cheese Sandwich on Kaiser Roll

To join Rnd 2, sl st in the top of the ch-2 at the beginning of the round. Can you see the sets of 4 hdc sts separated by ch-3 spaces?

Crocheted Cheese Sandwich on Kaiser Roll

To make it easier to find them later, place a marker around each of the five ch-2 in Rnd 2. I used safety pins here.

Crocheted Cheese Sandwich on Kaiser Roll

With Rnd 5 finished, you can see how the hdcs are moving in a little swirl pattern. The ch-spaces move a couple or three stitches counterclockwise with each round.

Crocheted Cheese Sandwich on Kaiser Roll

After Rnd 5, enlarge the live loop far enough that it won’t start unraveling as you work on the next step.

Crocheted Cheese Sandwich on Kaiser Roll

Turn to the wrong side of your work. Look at the ladders formed by the ch-sts. Rnd 2, where you have markers, is the first rung of the ladder. Three more rungs follow (Rnds 3, 4, and 5).

Insert a larger hook under the first rung, where the marker is. Remove the marker. Insert the hook under the second rung and pull the second rung through the first.

This will feel pretty tight, but that’s how it is supposed to feel. You can use your fingers to lift the loops. It’s a lot easier that way.

Crocheted Cheese Sandwich on Kaiser Roll

*Insert your hook under the next chain and pull it through the chain on your hook. Rep from * once. The yellow bracket shows the ladder of chain spaces, all chained up.

Now put the marker or safety pin into that last loop to hold it in place. Do the same with the other four chain ladders.

Crocheted Cheese Sandwich on Kaiser Roll

When you are finished chaining up all the ladders, turn back to the right side. See the fluffy Kaiser roll top?

Insert your smaller hook back into the enlarged loop and tighten the loop around the hook.

Crocheted Cheese Sandwich on Kaiser Roll

In Rnd 6, when you get to a loop with a marker in it, work a hdc into the loop and remove the marker.

Crocheted Cheese Sandwich on Kaiser Roll

After crocheting into the loop, the instructions tell you to skip the next hdc, and hdc into the next 5 hdc. You may not be able to see the skipped hdc very well, since it may be covered or squished by the stitch you just completed. However you should be able to see five hdc before the next marker. In the photo above, they are marked with yellow dots. Hdc into each of those.

Crocheted Cheese Sandwich on Kaiser Roll

A needle-join is by far the best way to finish off this cute Kaiser roll top. After the last hdc, cut the yarn and pull the final loop right out of the top of the last stitch.

Crocheted Cheese Sandwich on Kaiser Roll

Thread the yarn end into a tapestry needle. Skip the ch-2 and take the needle under the top of the first full hdc of the round. Pull it through.

Crocheted Cheese Sandwich on Kaiser Roll

Insert the needle into the top of the last st of Rnd 6…

Crocheted Cheese Sandwich on Kaiser Roll

…and on the wrong side catch the vertical loops of the hdc. Pull the needle through. Adjust the loop to match the tension of the other loops around the edge of the roll.

Crocheted Cheese Sandwich on Kaiser Roll

Here’s the finished top. Now is the time to sew on beads to resemble seeds, if you want.

Crocheted Cheese Sandwich on Kaiser Roll

Crochet an inside bun. Sew the bun pieces together around the edges, stuffing lightly before you close the seam completely.

Crocheted Cheese Sandwich on Kaiser Roll

Red Vases with Crocheted Flowers

August 6th, 2016

This is Red Vases, my latest crocheted flower wall hanging.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases

How many flowers and leaves from Crochet Bouquet and Crochet Garden can you spot? Many are the samples that appeared in the books. I’m glad to finally find a place for them.

My friend Peggy suggested adding beads to the Bluebells from Crochet Garden. What a great idea!

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases

Read more about the making of Red Vases at Suzann’s TextileFusion, beginning, middle, and finished.

What are you doing with your crocheted flowers?

Autumn Leaf Wrap in Love of Crochet

July 21st, 2016

Chestnut Wrap, Love of Crochet, step-by-step photos

Image copyright Love of Crochet/Caleb Young, Photographer.

I’m so pleased to have Cute Crochet World’s Horse Chestnut Leaf featured in this lovely wrap! Instructions are in the Fall 2016 issue of Love of Crochet magazine, which will be on the newsstands in August. If you can’t wait that long, you can purchase the digital edition now at www.interweavestore.com/love-of-crochet-magazine-fall-2016-digital-edition.

We don’t have room for step-by-step photos in most magazine instructions, so I’m posting some here. If you’d like some help visualizing the instructions, the following photos should help.

Autumn Leaf Wrap, Love of Crochet, step-by-step photos

Use your markers! They will help you find your place.

Autumn Leaf Wrap, Love of Crochet, step-by-step photos

When you join the leaves, place them wrong sides together. You’ll be glad of the markers at this point.

Here’s another view of the leaf join.

Autumn Leaf Wrap, Love of Crochet, step-by-step photos

Autumn Leaf Wrap, Love of Crochet, step-by-step photos

After the join, finish the leaf in progress.

Autumn Leaf Wrap, Love of Crochet, step-by-step photos

The Leafy Trim on the Autumn Leaf Wrap has 24 joined Horse Chestnut Leaves.

Autumn Leaf Wrap, Love of Crochet, step-by-step photos

The first row of the wrap joins directly to the Leafy Trim.

Autumn Leaf Wrap, Love of Crochet, step-by-step photos

Autumn Leaf Wrap, Love of Crochet, step-by-step photos

Row 3 of the wrap joins to the stems and creates their attractive curve.

Autumn Leaf Wrap, Love of Crochet, step-by-step photos

Autumn Leaf Wrap, Love of Crochet, step-by-step photos

Autumn Leaf Wrap, Love of Crochet, step-by-step photos

Autumn Leaf Wrap, Love of Crochet, step-by-step photos

You can see the join up-close in the photo above. Below, Row 3 is finished.
Autumn Leaf Wrap, Love of Crochet, step-by-step photos

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For step-by-step photos of the Horse Chestnut Leaf, visit the previous blog post here on Curious and Crafty Readers.

Hints for Crocheting the Horse Chestnut Leaf

July 18th, 2016

Crocheted Horse Chestnut Leaf Tutorial

Horse chestnuts! They’re such cool trees, and I would never have known about them if we hadn’t moved to England. Their flowers are fancy and frilly, and they produce very hard nuts. Their leaves inspired the “Horse Chestnut Leaf” design in Cute Crochet World (pages 74-75).

The pretty “Chestnut Wrap” in the Fall 2016 issue of Love of Crochet features a trim made with joined Horse Chestnut Leaves. The magazine will be available on the newsstand in August. You can purchase the digital edition now at www.interweavestore.com/love-of-crochet-magazine-fall-2016-digital-edition.

Here are some step-by-step photos to help you visualize the instructions in the book. I’ve made two small improvements that will make the leaf easier to make.

Crocheted Horse Chestnut Leaf Tutorial

Row 1 of the Horse Chestnut Leaf sets up the central veins for the five leaflets or lobes. Very easy. When you’re done, ch 1 and turn. In the original pattern, I didn’t include the ch-1, because you don’t really need it. However, the ch-1 makes it slightly easier to turn.
Crocheted Horse Chestnut Leaf Tutorial

On Row 2, you’ll run into two unusual stitches. Find instructions for the htr (U.S. half double treble) here. The other is the stitch-top picot. I believe it leaves less of a gap between the stitches on either side of it. To make the st-top picot, ch 3,

Crocheted Horse Chestnut Leaf Tutorial

…insert hook into the Front Loop of the previous stitch and under the loop that lies just next to it as in the photo above, yo and draw through all lps on hook.

Crocheted Horse Chestnut Leaf Tutorial

St-top picot complete.

Crocheted Horse Chestnut Leaf Tutorial

In Cute Crochet World, at the end of the first four lobes, the instructions say “rotate piece so you are looking at the base of the lobe, sl st around the sl st at ase of lobe,…” Instead of doing that, simply sl st in the space between the lobe you just finished and the next lobe. The photo above shows where to place the hook.

Crocheted Horse Chestnut Leaf Tutorial

Row 3 is worked along the base of the lobes. The instructions take you through how to do each stitch. If it helps, think of it this way, sc-3dc-sc-together.

Crocheted Horse Chestnut Leaf Tutorial

After the final yo and pull through all loops on hook, the base of the leaf pulls together and looks like this.

Crocheted Horse Chestnut Leaf Tutorial

The very best way to finish the leaf is to needle-join the stem to the base of Lobe 5. After the last stitch of the stem, cut the yarn and pull the hook straight up from the last stitch. The end of the yarn will pull out of the top of the last stitch.

Crocheted Horse Chestnut Leaf Tutorial

Thread the yarn end into a needle. Take the needle under the first sl st of Lobe 5, Row 2.

Crocheted Horse Chestnut Leaf Tutorial

Then take the needle back into the top of the final stem stitch (the yarn is coming out of this stitch).

Crocheted Horse Chestnut Leaf Tutorial

On the needle’s way down, catch the loop at the back of the leaf—see the photo above. Pull the thread through, adjust the new loop to a good tension, and weave in the end.

Sunflower on a Grid

May 30th, 2016

TextileFusion wall hanging with Sunflower on a Grid

I consider craft design and art to be two ends of a spectrum. Sometimes they meet, like in my little “Tropical Sunflower” wall hanging. It is knitted and quilted in the TextileFusion tradition, and I embellished with buttons and the very cute “Sunflower on a Grid” from Crochet Bouquet.

For the larger flower, I crocheted the petals from “Sunflower on a Grid,” one after another until there were enough to go around the big yellow circle.

One of my favorite things about “Sunflower on a Grid” is that you can see what is behind it, through the grid in the flower’s center. This twin set takes advantage of the feature, letting you see the shell underneath the cardigan. Instructions to make the twin set are here.

Twin set made with Sunflower on a Grid

New Designs in Love of Crochet!

April 16th, 2016

Love of Crochet’s Summer 2016 issue celebrates the splendor of summer’s lacy crochet. Flower-inspired designs include two blankets, a poncho and a cardigan. Mesh variations include several shawls and a top. Plus, crochet the next car in the amigurumi train series.

Love of Crochet, Coral Flame Wrap

I designed two of the magazine’s twenty projects, which will keep you crocheting well into the summer.

The body of my Coral Flame Wrap is an easy-to-make mesh pattern stitch, crocheted in Classic Elite’s lovely cotton yarn, Mesa.

My favorite part is the flowery fringe. On the way out from the edge of the wrap, you crochet two petals of each flower, and on the way back in, you complete the four-petal flowers. So cute!

Crocheted flower fringe

Here’s a sample of the flower fringe worked in a different yarn, so you can see its detail.

Love of Crochet, Belle Doily

The Belle Doily still makes me smile when I look at it. At first glance, you might see a flowery sort of design. But no! Look again and you’ll see eight fancy dresses from Cute Crochet World (“Dress Up Time”), joined to the center of the doily at the shoulders, and then tacked to each other at the hem. The thread is Handy Hands Lizbeth No. 3 cotton.

The print edition of Love of Crochet, Summer 2016, will be on sale around May 3. The digital edition is available to purchase now at http://bit.ly/locsum16designer-di.

Find a tutorial for the crocheted dress in the doily at Tiny Crocheted Prom Dress.

The Coral Flame Wrap and Belle Doily photos are used with permission with credit to Love of Crochet/Julia Vandenoever.