A Good Day for Mail

July 27th, 2015

The box on the front porch was from Sterling Publishing. Probably copies of Cute Crochet World in German. I was expecting them at some point. But there was more!

Crochet books in Russian and German

The Russian Crochet Bouquet was a total and happy surprise! Long ago, I took a semester of Russian, but the only thing I remember is pronounced “lyoo-blyoo”–“I love you.” I certainly love crocheters, whatever language they speak!

Happy National Ice Cream Day!

July 19th, 2015

I hope you’re enjoying National Ice Cream Day! Here are some holiday-appropriate treats to crochet from Cute Crochet World. Enjoy!

Crocheted Ice Cream Cone

Crocheted Ice Cream Cone

Crocheted Ice Cream Cone

Thank You, Lion Brand!

July 13th, 2015

Mama Lion knitted, quilted wall hanging

This is Mama Lion, one of the baker’s dozen of art quilts in my TextileFusion exhibit at the Quilt! Knit! Stitch! show in Portland, Oregon, next month.

Mama Lion was made specifically to show my appreciate of Lion Brand Yarns, the sponsor of the exhibit.

In the early days of my design career in the 1990s, Lion Brand purchased crocheted and knitted designs from me. More recently, Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York displayed my art quilt, Passionate Heart . I have also had the privilege of signing books and giving talks at the Studio.

I am pleased and honored that Lion Brand Yarns supports my textile art. Thank you again, Lion Brand!

Shop, See Art, Learn at Quilt! Knit! Stitch!

July 12th, 2015

Double Bullion crochet workshop

The Quilt! Knit! Stitch! show in Portland OR next month is going to be great fun! I’m looking forward to taking a folk embroidery workshop and shopping at the market.

In addition to lots of three- and six-hour workshops and the retail market, the event includes exhibits of textile artworks. My own TextileFusion exhibit–knitted, embellished quilts–will make its national debut there. Yay!

I’m the crochet teacher, offering these workshops:

  • Full of Bullion (Stitch, That Is). The double bullion picot petal flower above is one of our samples for this class.
  • Pretty Picot-rama
  • What to do with Grandmother’s Doilies
  • Crochet Charm Lace

Please go to www.quilts.com for more information and to register.

Hints for Crocheting “Picot Mexico”

July 6th, 2015

Crocheted Picot Mexico Flower Tutorial

The colorful Picot Mexico flower looks happy and joyful to me, with its vibrant colors. It is on pages 102-103 of Crochet Garden: Bunches of Flowers, Leaves, and Other Delights. You can also make Picot Mexico in one color of yarn.

First a correction to the book: Rnd 2 of the Small Flower (center column on page 103) refers twice to a “ch-3 sp.” It should read “ch-2 sp.”

And now, some hints for making Picot Mexico successfully. The sample is the Small Flower. but the hints apply to the Large Flower as well.

Crocheted Picot Mexico Flower Tutorial

To begin rnds 3 and 4, the instructions tell you to “join with *(BPdc around next dc…” This is almost the same as joining with a regular dc. Place a slip knot on your hook. Yarn over hook, holding the slip knot in place so the yo won’t twist away. (Photo 1)

Crocheted Picot Mexico Flower Tutorial

For a Back Post dc, still holding the slip knot in place, insert hook from the back to the front of your work, between two dc-sts of the previous rnd. (Photo 2)

Crocheted Picot Mexico Flower Tutorial

Passing hook in front of the next dc, insert hook to back again around that dc. (Photo 3)

Crocheted Picot Mexico Flower Tutorial

Draw up a loop around the post of the previous rnd’s dc. If you’ve successfully held the slip knot in place, you’ll have 3 loops on the hook. Finish as you would finish any dc. (Photo 4) If the yo has twisted away, you may be able to get it back by twisting the slip knot around the hook.

Crocheted Picot Mexico Flower Tutorial

In Rnds 3 and 4, increase by placing two BPdc-sts around one dc-post. Photo 5 shows the wrong side of the work, where the first two “BPdc around next dc and sl st-picot” are complete. The white arrow points to the next BPdc, which is the first of two around the same post.

Crocheted Picot Mexico Flower Tutorial

The increase is complete in Photo 6. The white arrow shows the first BPdc around the post, and the pink arrow shows the second BPdc around the same post.

Crocheted Picot Mexico Flower Tutorial

A friend on Ravelry (www.ravelry.com) asked for a photo of the back of a flower she was working on. That was such a good idea! So here’s what the small Picot Mexico looks like from the back (Photo 7).

Tips for Making Picot Mexico with One Color

  • Don’t fasten off after Rnd 1. Instead, as you begin Rnd 2, ch 3 to replace the first dc of the rnd. At the end of Rnd 2, sl st in the 3rd ch of the ch 3 at the beg of the rnd.
  • You’ll still have to fasten off the yarn after Rnds 2 and 3, so you can get a fresh start with the BPdc on the next round.
  • Don’t fasten off after Rnd 5. You have already sl stitched into the first sc of Rnd 5, so that counts as the first sl st of Rnd 6. Ch 3 and tr in the same st as the sl st. Continue Rnd 6 as written.

Crocheted Picot Mexico Flower Tutorial

National Take Your Dox to Work Day

June 26th, 2015

Today is really National Take Your Dog to Work Day, according to the completely fun website Holiday Insights.

But if you don’t have a doggie of your own, or you truly cannot take pets to work, here’s a sweet doxie for you to crochet and tuck into your pocket or handbag. No dogfood necessary. No walking, only blocking (and you only have to block once).

The pattern is on pages 40-41 of Cute Crochet World: A Little Dictionary of Crochet Critters, Folks, Food & More.

Our word for a certain kind of sausage, wiener, comes from Austria. In German, the city Vienna is Wien (pronounced “VEEN”). So in Germany, a sausage from Vienna is a Wiener. I’m telling you this, because I know how to spell wiener. Just read the book, and you’ll know.

Millefiori from Crochet Bouquet Explained

June 25th, 2015

Crocheted Millefiori Motifs

“Millefiori” on pages 25-26 of Crochet Bouquet: Easy Designs for Dozens of Flowers offers small flowers in five different petal shapes. Four of the petal styles are joined with a technique that gives an attractive and neat finish to warm the cockles of your crochet heart.

“Rounded Petals” is shown in the photos. In the book, patterns for “Pointy Petals,” “Rounded Petals,” “Baby Stars,” and “Heart-Shape Petals” should refer you to page 15 for finishing instructions.

Here’s how joining the petals works.

Crochet Millefiori Motif Tutorial

Following the instructions in Crochet Bouquet, crochet four or five petals in the shape of your choice (Photo A). When you’re done with the last sl st, cut the yarn, and pull the yarn straight up out of the last sl st.

The petals are numbered to keep track of them more easily.

Crochet Millefiori Motif Tutorial

Thread the final yarn end into a tapestry needle. Arrange the petals face-up. Beginning with petal 1, skim the needle under the visible loops of the first ch st of the petal and the final sl st of the petal as in Photo B.

When I say visible loops, I mean the ones you see as you look at right side of the petal. They are just one loop of the chain plus one loop of the sl st.

Crochet Millefiori Motif Tutorial

In Photo C, I have skimmed the needle under the first and last loops of petals 1, 2, and 3.

Crochet Millefiori Motif Tutorial

I pulled the yarn through the first three petals, and in Photo D, I’m skimming it under the loops of petals 4 and 5.

Crochet Millefiori Motif Tutorial

Tighten the yarn end to draw the petals together. Once again, skim the needle under the first loop of petal 1 as shown in Photo E.

Crochet Millefiori Motif Tutorial

Take the needle through the base of petal 1, from front (right side) to back (wrong side).

Crochet Millefiori Motif Tutorial

Tighten the yarn end once more, tack to secure the yarn, and weave in the end (Photo G).

Crochet Millefiori Motif Tutorial

If you haven’t already done so, weave in the end at the start of the flower. Take a moment to stretch the petals from side to side before blocking.

These are truly quick and easy flowers.

Crocheted Millefiori Motifs

Cute Crochet World Umbrella Tutorial

June 6th, 2015

Crocheted Umbrella Motif

You probably heard about the rain we had in Texas over the last month. One big question at our house was, “Where did we put the umbrellas?” We haven’t really needed them for the past couple of years. I’m not convinced they would have kept anyone especially dry, with all the wind we had…

Considering the rain and hail and winds, it was much better to be inside crocheting an umbrella, rather than outside using one. This Umbrella is from Cute Crochet World, pages 78-79. Here are some tips and photos to supplement the instructions in the book.

crocheted leaf from Crochet Bouquet

Cute Crochet World’s Umbrella has a lot in common with the traditional Irish Crochet leaf (find instructions for this modified version in Crochet Bouquet: Easy Designs for Dozens of Flowers). You crochet them using a Turn-and-Twist method (my name for it). At the end of a row, you turn and crochet the first part of the next row. In the middle of the next row you rotate (or twist) the piece, work down the other side of the piece, then turn again to begin the next row. Confused? Here are pictures.

Crochet Umbrella Motif Tutorial

Row 1 is finished in the photo above. It includes the U. S. htr stitch, which is a little taller than a dc and a little shorter than the tr. Read more about it here and here.

I put a safety pin on the right side of Row 1, so you can easily see when we’re turning for a new row as opposed to rotating or twisting in the middle of a row. After Row 1, TURN to begin Row 2.

Crochet Umbrella Motif Tutorial

I am a few sts into Row 2 in this photo. The sts are worked into the Back Loop, which creates the ribbed look of the Umbrella. The arrow points to the ch-2 loop at the top of the umbrella. The dots show where to place the remaining sts of Row 2.

Crochet Umbrella Motif Tutorial

Alright, in Photo 3, I’ve placed 3 sc into the ch-2 loop, ROTATED the piece, and I’m ready to crochet the rest of Row 2 into the foundation chain of Row 1.

Row 1 had 7 sts, and there’s a chain loop at the base of each of these sts. Those chain loops are where the remaining sts of Row 2 are worked. There is an increase still to go, so watch for it in the instructions. Don’t worry about crocheting into the back loop here, because there aren’t any true back loops.

Crochet Umbrella Motif Tutorial

After Row 2, TURN to begin Row 3. The arrows show how the sts will go: across, over the top, ROTATE to work along the other side of the piece. All sts are worked into the Back Loop.

Crochet Umbrella Motif Tutorial

Row 4 begins with a joined tr. You’ve probably noticed how the ch-4 turning ch of a tr row often flops around loosely at the start of the row. The joined tr solves the problem. The ch-4 turning chain is considered a tr-st, so it counts as the stitch in the first st of the row.

Photo 5 shows ch 4 (turning ch), yo, draw up a loop in 3rd ch from hook, draw up a loop in next st. The result is 4 loops on the hook, just like a regular tr. Work off the loops as you would for a tr.

Crochet Umbrella Motif Tutorial

Row 3 is finished. See how crocheting into the Back Loops has created an impression of umbrella ribs? Now TURN to begin Row 4.

Crochet Umbrella Motif Tutorial

In Photo 7, Row 4 is finished, and I have TURNED to begin Row 5. Row 5 starts with a ch-3 turning ch, which counts as the first stitch of the row, which we consider being placed into the first st of the previous row. Place the next dc of Row 5 into the next st.

Crochet Umbrella Motif Tutorial

In Row 5, the ch-2 at the top of the umbrella creates a little bump. In the instructions, we’re at the middle column on page 79, where it says “Rotate piece to work points…” in the direction of the long arrow.

Crochet Umbrella Motif Tutorial

As you finish Row 5, you’ll make the picot points of the umbrella into the sides of the sc-sts indicated by yellow dots. The magenta lines point to the sides of the long sts or turning-chains where you will place sl sts.

Crochet Umbrella Motif Tutorial

Here’s the umbrella’s handle and point. Leave a long end for sewing.

Crochet Umbrella Motif Tutorial

To place the umbrella point, insert your hook from right side to back through the ch 2 space of Row 5, then hook the tip of the umbrella point.

Crochet Umbrella Motif Tutorial

With the point on the hook, pull the hook out of the ch 2 space, stopping just before the ends come through.

Crochet Umbrella Motif Tutorial

Arrange the handle to emerge from under the middle of the umbrella. Use the long sewing end to sew it in place on the wrong side of the umbrella.

Step-by-Step Rafflesita–A Pattern Supplement

May 15th, 2015

Crocheted Rafflesia Flower Tutorial

The Rafflesia is a great, big flower—about 3 feet across. It’s the inspiration for this tiny version, called “Rafflesita.” Because –ita means little. The pattern for “Rafflesita” is on pages 122-123 of Crochet Garden: Bunches of Flowers, Leaves, and Other Delights. These photos and notes are meant to supplement the instructions in the book. Thank you Kathleen, for asking about the instructions.

The samples in Crochet Garden are each crocheted from a single variegated yarn. These photos show a flower made with several colors, so you can see the different parts of the flower better. And besides, it looks pretty good.

Crocheted Rafflesia Flower Tutorial

Rnds 1 and 2 are straightforward rounds of double crochet. Rnd 3 is worked into the Front Loop (FL) Only of Rnd 2. It forms a support for the final round of the flower. Rnd 4 is worked into the Back Loop (BL) Only of Rnd 2. You will work the petals and the final round of the flower into Rnd 4.

Crocheted Rafflesia Flower Tutorial

Here’s the first petal done, and the second petal begun. This is the “ch 6″ of 5A in the pattern. The chain takes you away from the flower center.

Crocheted Rafflesia Flower Tutorial

Continuing 5A, you work back toward the flower center, along the ch, and join to the BL of the next st of Rnd 4.

Crocheted Rafflesia Flower Tutorial

Instruction 5B has you stitching away from the flower again.

Crocheted Rafflesia Flower Tutorial

And 5C has you coming back toward the center, and joining with a sl st in the BL of the next st of Rnd 4.

Crocheted Rafflesia Flower Tutorial

Crochet away from the flower in 5D.

Crocheted Rafflesia Flower Tutorial

Crochet back toward the center for 5E, but pay attention here, because you’re going to skip one st of Rnd 4, before joining with a sl st in the BL of the next st.

Crocheted Rafflesia Flower Tutorial

Back out one more time with 5F.

Crocheted Rafflesia Flower Tutorial

Toward the flower center one last time for 5G, and you’re done with the next petal.

Crocheted Rafflesia Flower Tutorial

When the petals are complete, slip stitch around each petal as described in Rnd 6. If you find that 16 sl sts across the top are too many or too few, please alter the pattern to suit you.

Crocheted Rafflesia Flower Tutorial

To begin Rnd 7 with a dc, place a slip knot on your hook (as if you were starting a new project), yo hook, and draw up a loop in any FL of Rnd 4. Now you have 3 loops on the hook. Finish the dc as usual.

The FLs of Rnd 4 are pretty easy to see in this photo. They are the line of loops just inside the petal row.

Crocheted Rafflesia Flower Tutorial

Rnd 7 is worked from the top of the flower. If you’re a right-handed crocheter (meaning you hold the hook in your right hand—doesn’t matter which hand you write with), proceed in the direction of the arrow in this picture.

Crocheted Rafflesia Flower Tutorial

For me, it was easiest to fold the petals back and hold them with my thumb.

Crocheted Rafflesia Flower Tutorial

When you’re finished with Rnd 7, cut the yarn and pull the final loop out of the top of the last st (A in photo). Thread the yarn into a needle, and take the needle under the top lps of the 2nd st of the rnd (B in photo).

Crocheted Rafflesia Flower Tutorial

Take the needle down into the top of the final stitch, where the arrow is pointing in the photo. Tighten the loop to make it the same tension as the other stitches. Weave in the ends.

Crocheted Rafflesia Flower Tutorial

Rafflesita’s center is like a little bowl, where you can store small things, like these fossils.

Crocheted Rafflesia Flower Tutorial

Tiny Crocheted Prom Dress–A Pattern Supplement

May 5th, 2015

It’s prom season on Cute Crochet World! Oh my–if only the prom dresses of Earth were as easy and inexpensive to make as the prom dresses of Cute Crochet World! Our bank accounts would be a lot fatter.

While humans can’t necessarily wear this dress from Cute Crochet World the book (“Dress-Up Time,” pp. 122-123), you might want to make one or more anyway, using the step-by-step photos below to supplement the instructions in the book.


Some Cute Ideas for Using this Pretty Dress-Up Dress

  • Photograph the dress. Use your digital camera photo software to cut the dress from from the background (I use the magnetic lasso tool on Adobe Photoshop Elements). Paste into a word processing document and create after-prom party invitations.
  • Color photocopy the dress, enlarging or reducing it to the appropriate size for your project. Again, cut the dress from the background, paste onto a printed party invitation. Then you can make multiple color copies from this original.
  • Use the dress itself for a prom memories scrapbook page.
  • Crochet it with very fine thread and use it to decorate a picture frame.
  • Pin to your bulletin board.

Step-by-Step Photos

Start crocheting the dress from the waist down. The photo above shows Row 1 of the Skirt done, and Row 2 started. Row 2 instructs you to “dc in the first dc,” indicated by the yellow line. The turning ch-3 usually counts as the stitch in the first st, but since we’re increasing, this stitch will now have two stitches in it.

Row 4 is all picots, worked in the back loop only. This is what a finished Row 4 looks like. The yellow lines are pointing to the front loops, which haven’t been worked yet. When you turn the piece after Row 4, these front loops will become back loops. Row 5 is worked into the back loops.

Row 8 is finished here, and I am joining color B to the first stitch with a tr. To do this, place a slip knot on the hook (as if you were starting a project), yo twice, draw up a loop in the first st (4 loops on hook), and finish the tr. I like starting a new color this way, because it looks better to me than joining with a sl st and chaining.

The skirt is finished, and I’m starting back at the waist, looking at the right side of the skirt, and joining color A with a hdc.

To make the cap sleeve, chain as instructed (top photo) and make two picots to define the sleeve (lower photo). At this point, you will skip the picots and make the first st in the next ch, which is indicated by the yellow line.

The hdc-decrease pulls the sleeve upward.

After the neck shaping, place a marker as instructed in the pattern.

For the first sleeve, the chain formed the outside edge of the sleeve. For this sleeve, the chain forms the inside or upper edge of the sleeve. The yellow line shows where to place the first st after the picots. The shaping is slightly different, to make it symmetrical with the other sleeve.

And finish the sleeve and the top of the dress with a sl st in the stitch you marked earlier.

The corsage is pretty simple. To reduce bulk, make a ring with the yarn. Work into the ring, then tighten the first yarn end to form the flower.

Whew! You can stop now, if you’re pleased with your dress. It looks sort of summery and informal. Read on if you prefer to add the drapes.

Here’s the drape, with Row 1 complete. Work Row 2 into the original chain, opposite of the stitches of Row 1, as shown by the yellow lines. They will actually mirror each other—hdc across from hdc, dc across from dc, and so on. (Htr how-to here.)

The long sewing length is at the lower end of the drapes. To keep them symmetrical, start the trim at the top of one drape and at the lower end of the other drape.

Arrange the drapes and sew in place.

Even after blocking, my picot rows tended to stand up, so this time, I sewed real pearls of plastic on each picot for an even fancier ball gown.