Dream Home—A Crochet Picture

August 31st, 2014

Keeping a crochet secret is very difficult! I wanted to blog about the Dream Home project many times. But I also wanted to enter it into the Crochet Guild of America Design Competition. One of the rules is that an entry cannot have been published in print or online prior to the competition.

Dream Home, by Suzann Thompson

Now that the CGOA Design Competition is over for the year, I’m free, freeeeeeeeeeee! I’m free to tell the story of Dream Home. Finally!

I love fairy tales and similar stories. The illustrations I remember from childhood were rich in color and imagery from nature. Fairy tale homes had no modern machinery or complex technology.

Crocheted rabbit, ladybug, mushrooms

In a dream, a rabbit can fit under a toadstool, day and night can share the sky over your house.

You can see those childhood and dream images in Dream Home. The subject is pretty simple—a house, trees, some animals. As you come closer, you see more complexity—images in the sky, and the many small pieces that make up the whole.

I keep peeking around the doorway to look at Dream Home hanging in my livingroom. Seeing it makes me happy.

The History of Dream Home

Dream Home

Originally, Dream Home was going to be mounted onto a piece of felted wool and then made into a quilted wall hanging. The blue felt looked so good with the motifs of the picture. I was prearranging the pieces in this photo. That was when I realized just how many motifs were still left to crochet—lots and lots of blue circles for the sky, lots and lots of green petals and pink flowers for the lawn.

Finally the crochet charm lace was all done, meaning the motifs were sewn together to form the picture. I couldn’t quite visualize the finished piece, so I rolled the picture inside the felt and thought about it…for months.

With the deadline coming nearer, I bought a small quilting hoop to hold the piece while I hand-quilted it. Still, I couldn’t see it finished.

One day Ella and I were wandering around Michaels. In the painting section, I saw canvasses and thought, “What about sewing the picture to a canvas?” Artist’s canvas comes stretched and stapled to a wooden frame. It’s easy to hang. Right or wrong, a picture on canvas looks more like art than the same picture on a quilt. Now THAT, I could see.

I bought a canvas and prepared it by spraying it with a clear acrylic coating.

crocheted wall hanging

crocheted wall hanging

Should I use the pretty, blue, felted wool in the background, or not? After canvassing family members for their opinions, I chose to put the picture on the canvas without blue wool.

The sewing began. To keep the picture from sagging, I sewed around every single motif, attaching it to the canvas. Ignoring the large number of motifs, for fear they would discourage me, I just sewed one at a time. Eventually they were all sewn down.

crocheted butterflies

The picture looked lonely, floating around on that big, white canvas. It needed the button frame, which didn’t take very long to sew in place. I love button frames.

Here’s the scoop on the motifs:

From Crochet Garden:

  • Butterflies (left, in the sky), “Sulfur Butterfly & Friends,” pp. 31-33
  • Curlicues that form the water (lower left), “Curlicue Sprays,” pp. 62-63
  • Purple anemone with white and black center (right, under owl’s wing), “Anemone & Friend,” pp. 120-121

crocheted curlicues, water, and turtle

crocheted owl, anemone, mushroom, ladybug, bullion rose

From Crochet Bouquet:

  • Big green leaf (lower right, between toadstools and red rose), “Small One-Row Leaf,” pp. 120-121
  • Pink flowers in lawn, “Millefiori,” Tiny Petals, p. 26
  • Grass tufts in lawn, “Millefiori,” Rounded Petals, p. 25
  • Smallest trees in background, “Veined Leaf,” Plain Vein, pp. 123-124

crocheted house, tree, turtle, grass, bunny, flowers

crocheted rocket, star

From Cute Crochet World:

  • Mushrooms, “Storybook Mushroom,” pp. 59-61
  • Bullion rose, “Valentine Roses,” pp. 92-93
  • “Ladybug, Ladybug,” pp. 20-21
  • “Bunny,” pp. 38-39
  • “Turtle,” pp. 27-29
  • House, “Cozy Home,” pp. 133-136
  • Medium sized trees to the right of the house, “Cherry Blossom,” pp. 76-77
  • Owl, “Oval Owl,” pp. 36-37
  • Stars, “Starry Night,” pp. 98-99
  • Moon, “Winter Moon,” pp. 96-97
  • Rocket ship, “Vacation Transportation,” pp. 116-119
  • Clouds, “Cutely Cloudy,” pp. 86-87
  • Airplane, “Vacation Transportation,” pp. 116-119
  • “Bluebird of Happiness,” pp. 24-26
  • Sun, “Summer Sun,” pp. 94-95

crocheted bluebird, sun, cloud, butterfly

crocheted airplane, cloud, star

Next year’s entry into the CGOA Design Competition is already underway. It’s a…oops, can’t talk about it yet.

Sign Up Soon for Taos Wool Festival Workshops in October

August 25th, 2014

Polymer clay buttons

The Taos Wool Festival is always the first full weekend of October, with workshops starting a couple of days ahead. This is a great time to be in the mountains of New Mexico. The autumn colors and crisp weather are just wonderful.

This year I’m offering three classes at Taos:

Polymer Clay Button Boutique, all day Friday, October 3. You’ll go home with lots of colorful, pretty buttons, ready to use. They’re machine washable and dryable.

See the blue and orange buttons in the lower right corner of the photo above? We’ll make those as a group project. So fun!

Mosaic knit saguaro cactus

How to Knit Mosaic Patterns and Design Your Own, Saturday afternoon, October 4. After this class, you’ll be able to knit any of Barbara Walker’s many mosaic patterns, and you can design your own! Read more about the workshop here.

This mosaic cactus motif is one of my earliest original mosaic designs. I still like it a lot!

Knit Cables, Bobbles, and Braids workshop

Cables, Bobbles, and Braids, Sunday morning, October 5. You’ll learn how to do these stunning knitting techniques, but more importantly, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of these textural wonders. You’ll go away ready to twist and shout!

Please sign up for classes before September 1, 2014, at www.taoswoolfestival.org/workshops.

This notice is also on my other blog, but with different pictures. Enjoy!

Rog and Pam Build a House

August 23rd, 2014

“We’re moving to Cute Crochet World!” said Rog and Pam, happily. “Now we need a house.” Their real estate agent showed them this one. It was nice, but too plain. They wanted something fancier.

“This house is so cute!” said Pam and Rog, but they wanted different colors. “We’ll have to build our own house,” they agreed.

Meet Lio and Irene, construction experts on Cute Crochet World. Hi y’all!

Irene and Lio showed Rog and Pam lots of ideas for making a new house, including alternative building methods, like this knitted house. People of Earth, you can learn to knit a house like this in Suzann Thompson’s workshop “How to Knit Mosaic Patterns and Design Your Own,” at the Taos Wool Festival, in New Mexico, in October 2014. You can register for the workshop until September 1, 2014, at http://www.taoswoolfestival.org/workshops.

Rog and Pam decided to crochet a house. With Irene and Lio’s help, they chose materials and started building at the front corner of the house. The People of Earth apparently start their houses at the bottom and build up. How funny!

On Cute Crochet World, you begin building a house the front corner and work sideways toward the back, incorporating door and windows as you go.

To make a corner on a two-dimensional house, Irene and Lio used front-post hdc sts. You can tell it’s a corner, even though it doesn’t actually turn the corner. Find step-by-step photos to supplement the written Cozy Home instructions in the book, Cute Crochet World, here and here.

“On Earth, people put lentils over their windows and doors,” said Pam and Rog. “Let’s try it!” The lentils looked cute, but they kept falling off and sprouting.

This is Rog and Pam’s neighbor, Hugh. He’s a teacher. Hi, Hugh! He studied the lentils over their windows, and consulted a book. “I think this is a spelling problem,” he said.

Hugh offers this spelling advice: “‘I’ before ‘E,’ for windows, you see.” “Ah,” Rog and Pam said. “LINTELS.” Not lentils. They slip-stitched their lintels, but embroidery would have worked well, too.

On Mars, a yellow front door means ‘Welcome!’ Rog and Pam continue the tradition on Cute Crochet World.

Find instructions for the house, people, book, and much, much more in Cute Crochet World: A Little Dictionary of Crochet Critters, Folks, and Food.

Step-by-Step Crocheted Dogwood Flower

August 22nd, 2014

Crocheted Dogwood Flower

Blooming dogwood is beautiful sign of spring!

Dogwood trees don’t grow in our part of Texas, so I studied photos of dogwood flowers, in hopes of including the pattern for one in Crochet Garden: Bunches of Flowers, Leaves, and Other Delights. Shaping the petal correctly was a challenge, but adding the dark notch at the petal end stumped me…for a while.

Crochet your own dogwood blossoms with the instructions found on pages 40-41 of Crochet Garden. I hope you enjoy making a tree-full! These step-by-step photos should help.

Crocheted Dogwood Flower Photo Tutorial

Each petal is made with three rows of crochet. To make the curved end at Row 1, you will “hdc-dc-htr-tog across the 3rd, 4th, and 5th ch from hook.” Let’s break that down:

  • Yo, draw up a loop in the 3rd ch from hook (3 lps on hook).
  • Yo, draw up a loop in the next ch, yo, draw through 2 loops (4 lps on hook).
  • Yo twice, draw up a loop in the next ch, yo, draw through 2 loops (6 lps on hook).

The photo shows how the decrease looks at this point. Now you’re ready to finish off this decrease: yo and pull through all lps on hook.

Crocheted Dogwood Flower Photo Tutorial

Finish Row 1, using decreases and different heights of stitches as instructed. This photo shows Row 1 finished, just before turning.

Crocheted Dogwood Flower Photo Tutorial

Here’s where we introduce the accent color, which will comprise the dark notch at the end of the petal. For the first petal, leave a reasonable-length yarn end, and begin crocheting over the accent color with the original yarn. As you crochet Row 2, you are looking at the wrong side of the petal.

Crocheted Dogwood Flower Photo Tutorial

When the final dc of Row 2 is done, drop the main petal yarn, remove the hook from the loop and enlarge the loop, so it won’t come unraveled as you do the next few steps. Turn back to the right side of the petal. Find the stitch in which you made the dc. Then go to the next st of Row 1, and insert the hook in that stitch, as in the photo.

Crocheted Dogwood Flower Photo Tutorial

To make the dark notch in the petal, yo with the accent color and draw through the stitch. With the accent color, make 2 slip sts in the side of the dc of Row 2. It’s right there, where you need it. You’ll easily be able to find 2 loops on the side of this stitch. Drop the accent color.

Insert your hook into the enlarged loop that you dropped earlier. Tighten the loop. You’ll have 2 loops on the hook, as you see in the photo above.

Crocheted Dogwood Flower Photo Tutorial

With the main color, chain 1, drawing the loop through both loops on the hook. Then chain as instructed for Row 3.

Crocheted Dogwood Flower Photo Tutorial

Remember how you decreased three stitches to make the curve on Row 1 of the petal? To make the mirror-image curve on this side of the petal, you do the opposite: increase by placing 3 stitches into the 3rd chain from the hook.

Crocheted Dogwood Flower Photo Tutorial

As you crochet Row 3, watch for the instruction to begin crocheting over the accent color again. That will bring it back down to the center of the flower, where it will be ready for the next petal.

Crocheted Dogwood Flower Photo Tutorial

Cut a 1/2″/1.3cm strip of stiff card to make the loopy center of the flower. I cut mine from a cereal box. Wrap the accent yarn carefully around the paper strip. Placing the wraps next to each other will make them all the same size. Insert your threaded tapestry needle under the wraps.

Crocheted Dogwood Flower Photo Tutorial

Pull the thread under the wraps, remove the needle, tie the ends of the thread as tightly as you can to hold the wraps. Remove the cardboard and tighten the knot.

Crocheted Dogwood Flower Photo Tutorial

Tie the yarn ends again to lock the knot in place. Use the ends to sew this piece onto the flower. For the wrap ends, you can trim them and hide them among the loops, or you can bring them to the wrong side of the flower and weave them in.

Cozy Home Features

August 7th, 2014

Crocheted House Tutorial

Time to customize our Cozy Home! Page 136 of Cute Crochet World gives instructions for these add-ons: gable vent, window boxes, shrubbery, lintels, and chimney. The first three are crocheted separately and sewn on.

Lintels can be embroidered or crocheted. Here’s how I like to crochet them:

Crocheted House Tutorial

The thread is under the work. Insert hook from the right side of the work to the underside.

Crocheted House Tutorial

On the underside of the house, yarn over hook.

Crocheted House Tutorial

Draw the loop to the right side of the work.

Crocheted House Tutorial

When you have enough stitches, cut the yarn, leaving an end of about 10″/30cm.

  • Draw the loop completely out so the end of the yarn is on the right side.
  • Insert the hook from the underside to the right side of the work, in the same space as the yarn end comes out, making sure that your last loop will be caught by the yarn.
  • Yarn over with yarn end, and pull through to the underside of the work, catching the last loop as you go, so that it can’t come unraveled.

Now you can use that long yarn end to crochet the rest of the lintels—fewer yarn ends to weave in! Yay!

Crocheted House Tutorial

Embroider flowers and leaves or use beads to represent them. I like French knots for flowers and straight stitches for leaves.

Crocheted House Tutorial

Welcome to your new Cozy Home!

Step-by-Step Cozy Home

August 3rd, 2014

Crocheted Yellow House

I’ve always been a very home-oriented person. The day I started working from home, in 1993 I think, was a great day. December 19, 2013 was another wonderful day—we moved into our earthen home, much of it built by me with the help of friends and family. Would you be surprised to learn that “Cozy Home” is one of my favorite designs in Cute Crochet World?

Luckily “Cozy Home” won’t take you as long to build as our earthen house did. (Thank goodness!) To help you along, here’s a step-by-step photo-tutorial. Written instructions are on pages 133-136 of Cute Crochet World.

Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

This is the beginning of the Walls, Row 3. Remember that the ch-2 turning chain at the beginning of a row counts as a stitch. It is the stitch that corresponds to the “first stitch” in the photo. The pattern asks you to hdc in the next 3 sts, so you will place your first of the three hdc sts in the “next stitch” indicated in the photo.

Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

The yellow dots show where to place the stitches of Row 4.

Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

On Row 5, you chain to make the other side of the door opening. The chain includes enough stitches to turn and begin Row 6.

Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

A Front Post hdc (FPhdc) of Row 8 in progress here. Look for the yo for the hdc (this is the second loop from the right on the hook). The hook is inserted from the front of the work around the post of the next stitch and is coming out the front of the work again. Finally, there’s a yo which will be drawn up.

Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

That final yo from the last photo is drawn up here and we have 3 loops on the hook. To finish the hdc, yo and draw through all loops on hook.

Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

This is the very beginning of Row 9. On this side you can see how the FPhdcs of Row 8 formed the “corner” of the house.

Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

The window rows are created with dc sts and ch-spaces. This shows the hook at the very beginning of Row 11.

Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

After Row 15, you’ll work an outline of sl sts around the other three sides of the house. Along the bottom edge of the house, sl st 12 to the “corner” formed by Row 8, then sl st 3 to the door opening, chain 4 to go across the door opening, and sl st 3 to the next corner.

Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

The hook is positioned to sl st up the side of the house, into the free loops of the foundation chain.

Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

Now I’m ready to sl st across the top of the house (top left of page 135). The instructions call for a marker at this corner. I forgot to use a marker, but it will definitely help you find the stitch later when you add the gable and the roof edge.

Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

The walls are finished! Now it’s time for the gable end (the triangular piece between the roof and top of the house wall).
Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

For the picot gable end, turn to page 136. Counting the base of each picot and the ch-sts between the picots, you have 11 stitches, which is exactly how many sl sts you have along the top of the section above the door.

Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

To join the picot trim to the top of the wall, insert hook into the base of the picot and into the BL of the first sl st along the top of the house. Finish the stitch as instructed. For the next stitch, insert the hook into the next ch of the picot trim and the next sl st along the top of the house, and finish stitch as instructed.

Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

The roof begins with a chain, which is attached by inserting hook into the chain and into the next sl st along the top of the roof.

Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

Here’s the first row of the roof, finished. You will be increasing and decreasing on each row to shape the roof.

Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

The finished roof looks like this.

Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

The Roof Edge (instructions lower right on page 135), finishes the other side of the gable and joins to the tip of the roof. Use the yarn ends to sew the roof and gable edges together.

Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

Remember the long chain you made in Row 5? You have already crocheted into this chain to make the house walls. To make the door, sc into the free loops of this chain, as directed on page 136, “Door.” Begin the row with an sc, which means to place a slip-knot or loop onto your hook, draw up a loop in the appropriate stitch, as shown in the photo. To finish the sc, yo and draw through both loops on hook.

Crocheted House Photo Tutorial

Here’s Door Row 1, almost finished. In the next post, we’ll do some features to make the house a home.

Step-by-Step Frost Flower

July 24th, 2014

Crocheted Frost Flower or Snowflake Tutorial

The Frost Flower on pages 112-113 of Crochet Garden doubles as a snowflake if you crochet it all in white. The pattern is pretty straightforward, but a few pictures will help you visualize it. Watch for a Frost Flower project in an upcoming issue of the online magazine Happily Hooked.

Crocheted Frost Flower or Snowflake Tutorial

Round 1 of the Frost Flower sets up the six petals. The large loop will be completely covered by the stitches of the next round.

Crocheted Frost Flower or Snowflake Tutorial

Round 2 includes clusters of hdc, dc, and tr. Note that the instructions for the clusters (“Special Abbreviations” on page 113) include a ch-st to close the cluster. So when the pattern says “2 dc-CL, ch 3,” you make the dc-cluster, ch 1 to close it, and ch 3.

Why did I write it that way? I don’t know. It must have seemed correct at the time.

Crocheted Frost Flower or Snowflake Tutorial

I crocheted Round 3 in light blue yarn, so you could see it better. The bumps are hdc-picots: ch 3, hdc in 3rd ch from hook. If you want the Basic Frost Flower, you’re done after this round!

Crocheted Frost Flower or Snowflake Tutorial

Now for Round 4, which changes the Basic Frost Flower into a Fancy Flake. First, take a close look at the middle of the flower. The yellow lines in the photo show the small triangles formed by the ch-2s of Round 1 plus the ch 2 between petals of Round 2.

Each petal of Round 4 is worked around one triangle, which comprises

  • the ch 2 at the end of a Round 1 petal,
  • the ch 2 between petals of Round 2,
  • and the ch 2 at the beginning of a Round 1 petal.

Crocheted Frost Flower or Snowflake Tutorial

To begin Round 4, locate the ch 2 at the end of a Round 1 petal. Fold the flower at this point, so you can work around the ch-2. Begin at the centermost edge of the ch-2 and work toward the outside of the flower: with a slip knot on your hook, insert hook under the ch-2, draw up a loop, yo, complete the first sc, sc 1, hdc 1.

Now you’ve finished the first part of the first petal.

Crocheted Frost Flower or Snowflake Tutorial

The next part of the petal is worked around the ch-2 between petals, which in my flower is white.

Crocheted Frost Flower or Snowflake Tutorial

Crochet the final part of the petal around the ch-2 at the beginning of the next Round 1 petal. Then go on to the next petal of Round 4. Getting into position to crochet the next petal feels uncomfortably tight, but it will work.

Crocheted Frost Flower or Snowflake Tutorial

Round 4 is finished, and we have a Fancy Flake.

Crocheted Frost Flower or Snowflake Tutorial

Here’s the Fancy Flake, seen from the underside. You can see the bottoms of the stitches of Round 4 in six little triangle shapes around the center.

The Search for a New Planet Continues

July 13th, 2014

In the last installment of our #cutecrochetworld story, Rog and Pam were looking for new planet, where they could settle down. Finding the perfect planet was more difficult than they thought.

The perfect planet for crocheted life as we know it must not be too close to the sun (too hot), nor too far away (too cold). This sun is way too close! The planet’s distance from the sun has to be just right.

“Our new home planet can’t be too large, because the gravity would be crushing,” said Rog. “Nor too small, or we might come completely unravelled in the low gravity,” added Pam. Together they said, “What we need is a Goldilocks planet.” “Here I am!” said this beautiful metallic fish. No, dear fish, not Goldi-LOX!

“Hi Pam and Rog. My name is Goldilocks. I’m not a planet, but I’m an interplanetary real estate agent. I can help you find the perfect new home. I can manage your relocation, from selling your present home, to hiring movers, to making sure your new home is in good working order when you move in.” Pam and Rog said, “Alright!! Please, Goldilocks, plan it!”

Goldilocks previewed dozens of planets before reporting back to Pam and Rog. “I think I’ve found the right planet for you!” she said. “Its size, its distance from the sun, and the size of the sun are all just right! Not only that, it has abundant wool and other fibers, upon which all crochet life depends.”

“Also,” interplanetary real estate agent Goldilocks told Rog and Pam,”this planet is protected from collisions with asteroids and comets, by a larger planet nearby. It is called Cute Spoon Doll World.” Rog and Pam met some folks from Cute Spoon Doll World. They were really nice!

“What’s the name of this Goldilocks planet?” asked Rog and Pam. Their interplanetary real estate agent said, “Cute Crochet World.”

Find instructions for making all these motifs and more in Cute Crochet World: A Little Dictionary of Crochet Critters, Folks, Food and More. Follow Rog and Pam on Instagram @cutecrochetworld for more frequent updates.

Many thanks to the book Earth Matters, ed. David de Rothschild, for teaching me about Goldilocks planets, among other things. Earth is a Goldilocks planet, too.

Giveaway at Lark Crafts!

July 10th, 2014

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Cute Crochet World and a motif from the book!

To enter, visit the Lark Crafts blog, and leave a comment by Friday, July 11, 2014.

The motifs are the Vintage Television, a Martian Costumed Kid, and Gingerbread People. The gingerbread people are wrong-side-up in this photo—see the book for a better picture. The patterns for all these motifs are in the book.

Good luck!

Step-by-Step Baby Carriage

June 18th, 2014

Crocheted Baby Carriage from Cute Crochet World

Louanne is going to crochet a Baby Carriage for a baby shower gift. Great idea! She needed help visualizing how the pattern worked, so here are some photos. Find written instructions for crocheting the Baby Carriage on pages 106-107 of Cute Crochet World.

Step-by-step photos for crocheted baby carriage

Even though you begin the Baby Carriage with a chain loop, work the pattern in rows. At the end of Row 1, the piece looks like this. The shaping is accomplished with stitches of different heights. Once you have finished the stitches of the row, ch 4 and turn.

Step-by-step photos for crocheted baby carriage

The first treble stitch of Row 2 goes into the first stitch of the previous row, because we are increasing on this row. So essentially, the first stitch has two stitches in it—the turning ch, which counts as the first tr and another tr. The pink dots show each stitch that you will work into. Some have two sts in them, some only have one.

Find help making treble sts on YouTube. Go to Crochet Spot for instructions on making the htr (half treble).

Step-by-step photos for crocheted baby carriage

When you’re finished with Row 2, the piece looks like this. The hood and bed are curved, because you increased in those areas. The bottom of the carriage is flat, because you used short stitches and you didn’t increase.

Step-by-step photos for crocheted baby carriage

Once again, after you ch 3 and turn, work the first dc into the first stitch as instructed in the pattern and shown in this photo. Then work around as noted in the pattern.

Step-by-step photos for crocheted baby carriage

When Row 3 is done, you have the shape of the baby carriage.

Step-by-step photos for crocheted baby carriage

Row 4 adds the handle. To make lovely edges, you will be slip stitching along the top of the bed and the edge of the hood, as shown in the picture. To finish this piece beautifully, stop your slip stitches at the 2nd st of the turning ch-3 at the beginning of Row 3. Cut the yarn and pull the end of the yarn out of the last sl st.

Step-by-step photos for crocheted baby carriage

Skip the 3rd st of the turning ch of Row 3, bring needle under the chain of the next stitch as shown in the photo.

Step-by-step photos for crocheted baby carriage

Insert the needle into the top of the last sl st, bringing it out toward the back of the piece. Adjust the stitch you just made to be the same size as the rest of the sl sts.

Step-by-step photos for crocheted baby carriage

Weave the yarn end in at the back of the work. Add wheels and you’re done!