Hints for Making the Mamas and Papas of Cute Crochet World, Part 2 of 3

February 1st, 2016

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Start Mama’s legs and Papa’s trousers by drawing up a loop in the lower edge of the dress or shirt. The instructions say “join with a sl st,” which to my mind (at the time I wrote the instructions) meant the same thing. “Draw up a loop” is a better way to say what I meant.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Chain as instructed, and then work back along the chain to create the leg.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Mama’s feet are shaped by increasing or decreasing at the heel, and her slender ankles are sc, while her shapely calves are hdc.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

The shoe on this foot begins at the toe. The shoe on the other foot begins at the heel. You’ll see as you follow the directions, why this is.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Mama’s legs are worked separately.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

To start Papa’s trousers, draw up a loop in the appropriate stitch at the lower edge of Papa’s shirt. Chain and then work back along the chain to make the first trouser leg. Row 2 is only two sc, which serve to join the trouser legs. From the last sc, chain out again (photo shows how he looks at this point), work back along the chain to create the second trouser leg, and join to the shirt.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Use one of the yarn ends to sew the last dc of the legs to the edge of the shirt. I wove my needle back and forth to catch loops from the legs and the shirt, as in the photo above. I pulled the yarn end through and wove it in a different direction to make sure it wouldn’t come loose.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Papa’s shoes are worked into the turning ch at the end of the trouser legs. Take a moment to find the four ch-sts of each turning ch before you start. The photo shows how first shoe begins with drawing up a loop in the first ch of the ch4-loop. The blue dots indicate the second, third, and fourth ch-sts.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

The second shoe begins with hdc in the second ch of the ch4-loop. To begin with hdc, place a slip knot on your hook, yo, hold these loops in place with your fingers, draw up a loop in the second ch, yo, and complete the st as you would any hdc.

The blue dots show each of the four ch-sts. The black stitch is in the second ch.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Mama and Papa are ready for arms. There’s lots of choice with arms—waving, expansive, relaxed. What will I choose? Maybe a little of each, so you can see how to make them in the next post.

Hints for Making the Mamas and Papas of Cute Crochet World, Part 1 of 3

January 25th, 2016

Crocheted Mamas and Papas

I’m so glad reader and crocheter Janet S. asked for a little help with the Mamas and Papas of Cute Crochet World. She is using them to decorate crocheted bags.

Complete written instructions for the Mamas and Papas are on pages 137-141. The hair, clothing, arms, and legs are joined as you work. I like to weave in ends as I go.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Begin with the head. It is worked in the round, but it is oval because the stitches on the sides are shorter than the stitches at the top of the head and the chin. The tallest stitch is htr; find directions for htr here.

After you join the first round for the head, the neck is simply the first few stitches of a second round.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Mamas and Papas have lots of hairstyles to choose from, with instructions for each on page 140. I’m giving this Mama a Cleopatra hairdo, which starts in the second stitch from the neck. You can see how I skipped the first stitch, and I’ve joined the hair color with a tr.

To join with a tr (instead of a sl st and ch 4), place a slip knot on the hook. Holding the knot in place with the fingers on your hook-holding hand, yo twice, insert the hook, and pull up a loop. Now you have 4 loops on the hook, so finish the stitch just like any tr.

Once you get the hang of beginning a row or round with a stitch (instead of sl st and chain), I think you’ll like it a lot. It looks neater than the sl st and chain at the beginning.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Mama has the Cleopatra hair and Papa has a crew cut.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Turn Mama to the wrong side to start the dress. Work the first row into the three stitches of the neck. In the photo above, I have joined the dress color with 4 dc in the first stitch. The next two stitches are marked with arrows.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Mama’s rounded sleeves are made with two clusters of 4 tr. The instructions tell you exactly how to do this. In this photo, I am at the top of page 139. I have 5 loops on the hook and I’m ready to yo and pull through all loops to complete the first 4tr-cluster.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

The first row of Papa’s shirt is similar to the first row of Mama’s dress—begin on the wrong side. The green arrow in this photo shows the beginning of the second row, where we make the sleeves. Ch 4 at the beginning of the row, then make a joined-tr. A joined-tr is attached to the chain, and keeps it from gapping.

To make the joined-tr for Papa’s shirt, Yo, draw up a loop in the 3rd ch from hook, draw up a loop in the first st. Now you have 4 loops on the hook, and you can finish this tr just like any other tr.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

End off after the first two rows of the dress or shirt. Weave in ends to get them out of the way. To finish the garments, turn to the wrong side and place the first sts into the sts shown by the green arrows.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

To keep the turning chains in Mama’s dress and Papa’s shirt from creating gaps, use a joined-dc. Instructions for that are on page 17.

Crocheted Mamas and Papas Tutorial

When the dress and shirt are finished, they’ll look like this. We’ll crochet legs and shoes in the next post.

Gingerbread Kids from Cute Crochet World–Hints and Ideas

December 18th, 2015

Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament Tutorial

Why in the world do we need another pattern for crocheted gingerbread people? Because I’m terrible at crocheting into the sides of rows. Read the whole story on this Flashback Friday on my other blog, Suzann’s TextileFusion.

The Gingerbread Kids of Cute Crochet World are worked in the round, so when you finish, you have an easy time adding icing trim. Here are step-by-step photos of the Gingerbread Kids in progress.

Complete written instructions for the Gingerbread Kids are on pages 80-82 of Cute Crochet World: A Little Dictionary of Crocheted Critters, Folks, Food & More.

Both Gingerbread Kids are made in two rounds of gingerbread and one round of icing. For clarity, the book’s instructions for each gingerbread round are divided into sections for arms, legs, and head. As you work, observe how the stitches look and where they are.

Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament Tutorial

Here is the first arm, head, and second arm of Rnd 1, to the point after “sc in each of the next 4 ch.” The yellow marks show where to draw up lps for the next stitch—draw up two loops, yo, then draw up the third.

Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament Tutorial

And here are the loops on the hook, ready for the last yo and pull through. This joins the arms and head.

Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament Tutorial

Create the body- and leg-shaping by increasing or decreasing sts. When it’s done, Rnd 1 looks like a curled up stick figure.

Rnd 2 is worked in every single st, foundation ch, and ch-2 lp of Rnd 1. A helpful hint: after stitching the ends of the legs, head, and arms in the ch-2 lp, the instructions say to “skip the first sc” or “hdc.” That st is probably already obscured by the sts in the ch-2 lp.

Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament Tutorial

At the last st of Rnd 2, cut the yarn and pull the final loop up, up, and out of the last st, as in the photo above.

Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament Tutorial

Thread the yarn end into a tapestry needle, and skim the needle under the top two loops of the first st of the rnd, as in this photo. Take the needle back down into the last st of the round, tighten and adjust the new loop, weave in end. This is a needle-join or invisible join, which you can read more about here.

Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament Tutorial

Start the round of icing trim by drawing up a loop with the icing color yarn. Sl st in each st around, making sts looser or tighter to fit the outline of the gingerbread.

Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament Tutorial

When you’ve slip stitched around, cut yarn and draw the last loop completely out of the final st. Thread yarn end into tapestry needle.

Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament Tutorial

Skim the needle under the two “legs” of the loop you drew up at the beginning of the round.

Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament Tutorial

Take the needle back down into the final st of the round, where the yarn end emerges. Pull the yarn end through to the wrong side, adjust it to the size of the sl sts nearby, weave in end. Another needle join complete!

Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament Tutorial

The icing trim on the gingerbread girl is slightly different. Sl st around her right leg first and pull the yarn ends to the wrong side. Following the complete instructions in the book, sl st around the second leg and around the edge until you come to the second corner of the skirt. Hold the yarn in back as you sl st across the tops of the legs/bottom edge of the skirt.
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Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament Tutorial

When you’re to the last possible stitch before the opposite corner of the skirt, cut yarn and draw the end up and out of the final stitch. This photo shows the loop in the process of being drawn out.

Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament Tutorial

Thread the yarn end into a tapestry needle. Skim the needle under the first stitch of the skirt.

Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament Tutorial

Take the needle back down into the final sl st of the trim. Adjust the loop, weave in the end on the wrong side. Another needle join complete!

Make a Gingerbread Kid Ornament

To make ornaments, crochet two each of the gingerbread boy and gingerbread girl. Make a hanging loop for each ornament. from the instructions here. I used a length of No. 10 crochet cotton, but you can use embroidery floss or the yarn you used to make the gingerbread motifs.

Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament Tutorial

For each ornament, sew the hanging loop to the wrong side of one motif, centering it at the top of the head. I used a contrasting color thread here, so you can easily see it. You can use whatever yarn or thread works.

Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament Tutorial

Line up two matching motifs, wrong sides together. Use yarn to sew the motifs together, stitching each loop of the final round of the gingerbread kid to the matching stitch on the other motif. Basically, you will whip-stitch the pieces together. Weave the final end between the motifs.

Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament Tutorial

Sewing the matching motifs together, back to back, tames the tendency of the crochet to curl. Best of all, your ornament will look nice from both sides. And you made it!

Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament from Cute Crochet World

Small and Simple Snowflake: A Free Crochet Pattern

December 11th, 2015

Small and Simple Snowflake, a free crochet pattern by Suzann Thompson

To round out the previous post about how to make the Snow Globe Doily, here are patterns for the small and tiny snowflakes used in the project.

“Small” is a relative term here. Compared to the Frost Flower snowflakes in the Snow Globe Doily, these flakes are small. But if you crochet them in heavy yarn, they’ll be big.

The smallest thread I used in the doily resulted in a 1 1/4″ diameter Small and Simple Snowflake. The flake shown here on the pink Christmas tree is 4 1/4″ in diameter, made with Lion Brand Lion Cotton (now discontinued, but the company now offers a similar heavy cotton yarn).

Small and Simple Snowflake

Pattern Note: Triple picot = ch 4, sl st in 4th ch from hook to form first picot, ch 5, sl st in 5th ch from hook, ch 4, sl st in 4th ch from hook, sl st in base of first picot.

Ch 4, join with sl st in first ch to form a ring.

Round 1 (RS): Sl st into ring, ch 7 (counts as tr and 3 ch), (tr in ring, ch 3) 5 times, join with sl st to 4th st of ch-7 at beg of rnd (6 tr and 6 ch-3 spaces).

Round 2: Ch 1, sc in same st as last sl st of previous rnd, triple picot (see pattern note), sc in same st as first sc of rnd, ch 3, *sc in next tr, triple picot, sc in same tr, ch 3; rep from * 4 times, join with sl st in first sc of rnd (See NOTE below), end off (6 triple picots, 12 sc, and 6 ch-3 spaces).

Weave in ends and block.

Small and Simple Snowflake, a free crochet pattern by Suzann Thompson

Tiny Flake

Ch 4, join with sl st in first ch to form a ring.

Round 1: Sl st into ring, ch 2 (counts as hdc), ch 3, sl st in 3rd ch from hook, *hdc in ring, ch 3, sl st in 3rd ch from hook; rep from * 4 times, join with sl st in 2nd st of ch-2 at beg of rnd (See NOTE below).

 Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

The Small and Simple Snowflake and Tiny Flake are part of this Snow Globe Doily. Learn how to make a doily like this in the previous post. The snow people in this photo have Tiny Flakes around their…feet?

NOTE: For better results, do not join with sl st. Instead cut yarn and needle join. Photo-tutorial for needle-join here.

Make a Snow Globe Doily with Crochet Charm Lace

December 11th, 2015

Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

Imagine, for a moment, this dream crochet project: you can make it with leftover yarns or new yarns. You can mix yarn weights and textures. The finished piece can be any shape and size. Best of all, you won’t need to make gauge swatches.

Ah, what a lovely dream.

But wait! You can turn the dream into reality with a technique called Crochet Charm Lace. To do it you will need crochet motif patterns, yarn and hooks for crocheting motifs, waste fabric, safety pins, tapestry needle, scissors, and supplies for blocking.

For your first crochet charm lace project, consider making something small, like a scarf or the Snow Globe Doily shown here.


A Quick Summary of How to Make Crochet Charm Lace

  • Cut a fabric template in the shape of your choice. It won’t be part of the finished project.
  • Crochet motifs from one type or many types of yarn, weave in ends and block.
  • Arrange and pin motifs, face down on the fabric template and safety-pin in place.
  • Sew motifs together wherever they touch.
  • Remove safety pins and turn your crochet charm lace piece right-side-up.

HOW TO MAKE THE SNOW GLOBE DOILY

For the Snow Globe Doily, you will need:

  1. A selection of white yarns and threads. The yarns in “Snow Globe” range from No. 30 crochet cotton (very fine) to worsted weight yarn, and they represent many different fibers, like cotton, linen, and wool.
  2. One or two icy blue yarns the same size as one or two of the white yarns you chose. To be used as accents and for filler motifs.
  3. A selection of crochet hooks to give a firm gauge with the chosen yarns.
  4. Books:
  5. Cute Crochet World: A Little Dictionary of Crochet Critters, Folks, Food & More, “Snow-People” pattern.

    Crochet Garden: Bunches of Flowers, Leaves, and Other Delights, “Frost Flower” pattern.

    OR any patterns for small and large crocheted snowflakes and snowmen.

  6. Sturdy fabric to make a template in the shape you choose. “Snow Globe” is 16″ in diameter.
  7. Pens, templates (such as a large platter) as needed to make a template with fabric.
  8. Iron, press cloth, ironing surface, pins
  9. Patterns for Filler Motifs (see end of this post) and Small and Simple Snowflakes and Tiny Flakes (see tomorrow’s post)

Make a Fabric Template

How to Make the Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

Cut out the desired size and shape of your project from any sturdy fabric. The fabric will not be part of the finished piece, but you need it to create the shape of the Crochet Charm Lace.

For the Snow Globe project, I traced around my largest round platter—about 16″ across—with a ball-point pen, onto leftover cotton twill fabric. Round is nice, but you can cut out a heart or square or whatever. You can even use a piece of clothing as a template.

Choose Motifs

The motifs used in Crochet Charm Lace are stand-alone crocheted motifs. In other words, they are NOT afghan motifs. We are lucky to have quite a few non-afghan motif books on the market, featuring everything from flowers to dachshunds to sea creatures.

I chose motifs from my own books to make the Snow Globe Doily shown here. The “Snow-people” are from Cute Crochet World. The large snowflakes are “Frost Flower” from Crochet Garden: Bunches of Flowers, Leaves, and Other Delights.

Two or three motif patterns are plenty for a crochet charm lace design. Pick your favorite flower and leaf designs, for instance. Or consider groupings like televisions and stars; oak and maple leaves; or clouds, umbrellas, and rain boots. Find several ideas here.

In addition to the main motifs, you’ll need small motifs to fill in awkward spaces in your crochet charm lace creation. A filler motif can be as simple as one round of single crochet or half-double crochet.

Choose Yarns and Hooks

Here’s a general rule for choosing yarn. If you have many textures and weights of yarn for your crochet charm lace project, keep to one or two colors for the major motifs; on the other hand, if you are using lots of colors, keep to a narrow range of weights and textures.

You are welcome to break this rule.

The filler motifs can blend or contrast. I chose DK weight cotton and wool yarns, No. 10 crochet cotton, an even lighter cotton than that, and even some handspun wool. My light blue filler motifs contrast with the mostly-white snowflakes.

Choose hooks that will give you a firm gauge with the different yarns. Consult the Craft Yarn Council’s yarn and hook chart at http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/weight.html and go for the hooks at the smaller end of the scale for each weight of yarn.


Crochet!

Crochet enough motifs to thickly cover your fabric template. I crocheted “Frost Flowers” in several sizes of yarn and thread. The pattern in Crochet Garden includes a “Fancy Flake” option, which I used for a few of the flakes. I used pale blue as an accent in some of the Frost Flowers.

To add variety, I made Small and Simple Snowflakes and Tiny Flakes. I will post the patterns tomorrow.

Finish the Motifs

How to Make the Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

Weave in ends and block the motifs.

To block, hold small motifs like these under the tap, squeeze out excess water, hand-stretch and flatten each motif, and press gently using a press cloth to protect the crochet.

When a motif just won’t lie flat, pin it out and let dry.

How to Make the Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

Arrange and Pin

Arrange motifs right-side-down on the template, with an eye toward distributing color, shape, and size in a pleasing way. Take them right up to the edge of the template. If you have a few large or major motifs, lay them out, more-or-less evenly-spaced across the template. Arrange the other motifs around them, with edges touching wherever possible.

Squeeze in as many motifs as you can, as if you were working a crochet jigsaw puzzle. They won’t all fit perfectly together, which is what results in the lacy effect of Crochet Charm Lace.

You may need to make a few more motifs. Estimate how many and make a list like the one in the photo below.

Do you see spaces that need to be filled, but they’re too small for the regular motifs? Make filler motifs, like my blue sc-circles, to fill those spots.

How to Make the Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

In this experimental arrangement for the Snow Globe table mat, I was trying to figure out how many more flakes and filler motifs to crochet. Before pinning the motifs, I turned the pieces face-down.

Arranging motifs will probably take more time than you expect. Feel free to take a break and come back later.

As I arranged and rearranged motifs for the Snow Globe Doily, my daughter said, “Mom, the snow people should be holding hands.”

Her instincts were right, as usual, so I put them closer together with their hands touching. I also felt they would look better if they “stood” on the Tiny Flakes, which seemed more like solid snow.

Act on your thoughts and ideas about placing motifs. If you have a pretty satisfactory arrangement, but want to try something else, photograph the original arrangement first. That way you can recreate it from the photo, if necessary.

When the motifs are exactly the way you want them, pin each one to the template with one or two safety pins.

How to Make the Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

Sew Motifs Together

Sew motifs together wherever they touch, skimming the tapestry needle under the loops just inside the edges of the motifs (see the photo below). When you tighten the stitch, the motif edges will pull together on the right side (which you can’t see at the moment). The stitch won’t show on the right side.

How to Make the Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

Note how the sewing stitch catches the loops just inside the edges of the motifs.

For sewing, use the thinnest thread or yarn you crocheted with. For heavier yarns, reduce bulk by splitting 4-ply yarns into two 2-ply strands for sewing.

Sew with yarn that matches the color of one or both motifs you are sewing. You will frequently have to weave in ends, cut the sewing yarn, and start in a new place.

How to Make the Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

On the wrong side of the piece (which you see while sewing), small lengths of sewing yarn may show at the edges of some motifs. The stitches will not show on the front.

For many crocheters, stitching is not the most fun. But keep at it. It’s worth it. If you need a morale boost, unpin a finished section of your crochet charm lace project and peek at the right side. I think it will give you incentive to keep going.

Finish

At some point, you will finish sewing motifs together. Really. You will.

And here comes the best part! My favorite! Take out the safety pins. This photo captures the moment: pins gone and then…

How to Make the Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

Set the fabric template aside.

Imagine a drum roll.

Turn the piece right-side-up. Live the dream.

How to Make the Crochet Charm Lace Snow Globe Doily by Suzann Thompson

NOTES:

To supplement the instructions for the Frost Flower in Crochet Garden, please look for the photo-tutorial at www.textilefusion.com/bookblog/?p=881

Sc Filler Motif

Ch 4, join with sl st in first ch to form a ring.

Round 1: Ch 1, 7 or 8 sc into ring, cut yarn, and needle-join (also known as invisible join)–7 or 8 sc.

Two Scarves in Love of Crochet

December 3rd, 2015

Snowflake Scarf by Suzann Thompson, Love of Crochet magazine

Publishing craft designs in magazines is all about waiting. And waiting. It seems like forever, but the waiting does pay off eventually, like it recently did for me. Yay! Finally I can talk about these two scarves!

The Sparkling Snowflake Scarf is a Crochet Charm Lace project, made of small, medium, and large snowflake motifs. The flakes work up quickly in Lion Brand Wool-Ease and Wool-Ease Chunky.

See how Crochet Charm Lace works in these posts.

Snowflake Scarf by Suzann Thompson, Love of Crochet magazine

Double Bullion & Shell Scarf by Suzann Thompson, Love of Crochet magazine

Crochet Garden readers will recognize the double bullion stitches on this silvery gray scarf, crocheted with Premier Yarns Deborah Norville Collection Alpaca Dance.

You’ll find the tall double bullion stitch in the Russian Spoke Flower on page 100 of Crochet Garden, and the shell picot in the Russian Picot Daisy on page 76. Here’s a tutorial for the Russian Spoke Stitch/Picot, which will help as you’re making the scarf.

If you can’t find the print edition of Love of Crochet in your favorite magazine-shopping spot, a digital version is available at the InterweaveStore.com.

Double Bullion & Shell Scarf by Suzann Thompson, Love of Crochet magazine

Crochet this Luxurious Picot Fringe Scarf!

November 16th, 2015

Picot Fringe Scarf by Suzann Thompson

Interweave Crochet Accessories 2016 brings us another project-packed issue, with a convenient pattern index that shows approximately how much time each project takes to crochet.

Among the more time-consuming—but totally worth it—projects is the Picot Fringe Scarf by me, Suzann Thompson!

Picot Fringe Scarf by Suzann Thompson

A pretty flower-lattice pattern makes the body of the scarf, while each strand of fringe includes six sets of picots. The subtly shaded yarn, Dream in Color Smooshy, adds depth to the already unusual and extravagant picot fringe.

The print magazine, Interweave Crochet Accessories 2016, is on newsstands now. Purchase print or digital versions online at http://www.interweavestore.com/crochet-accessories-2016?source=igodigital.

Photos copyright 2016 by Interweave Crochet, Donald Scott, photographer. Used with permission.

On the Map at the International Quilt Festival

November 6th, 2015

Knitted, embellished quilts at the International Quilt Festival, 2015

“I’m here with my sister, who quilts, but I knit!” exclaimed a smiling lady. She had wandered into my TextileFusion exhibit at the International Quilt Festival in Houston last week. All thirteen pieces in the exhibit were knitted and quilted, then embellished with crochet, embroidery, buttons, and beads.

Knitted, embellished quilts at the International Quilt Festival, 2015

Knitted, embellished quilts at the International Quilt Festival, 2015

Thanks to the exhibit’s sponsor, Lion Brand Yarns, knitters and crocheters felt they had found a home at the Festival.

Knitted, embellished quilts at the International Quilt Festival, 2015

I was able to stay with my exhibit and so I got to talk with friendly and interested people all through the show (with a couple of breaks for shopping). As we talked, I worked on a new wall hanging, which illustrated my spiel about knitted quilts. It was undoubtedly the only quilt in the enormous exhibit hall that people were allowed to touch.

Knitted, embellished quilts at the International Quilt Festival, 2015

To help me visualize the flower arrangement on the wall hanging, I photographed it with my phone. My work table was too high, so I put the quilt on the floor to take the photo.

A quilter walked by, and I’m afraid she suffered heart palpitations when she saw me place a quilt on the floor. Clueless at first, I told her what I was doing, explaining that I can get a much better perspective on the wall hanging from a photo than I can by looking at it straight-on with my own eyeballs.

When she realized it was my own quilt, the relief on her face was obvious. Oh, I get it! I’m sorry, dear lady.

Knitted, embellished quilts at the International Quilt Festival, 2015

In another exciting development at the Festival, one of my wall hangings sold! Mama Lion will be going home with a family that is active in the effort to conserve our world heritage of lions and other wild animals. (The orange circle says “Sold.”)

It’s great finally to be on the map! Literally.

Knitted, embellished quilts at the International Quilt Festival, 2015

Recycling and Yarn and a Fairy Tale

August 17th, 2015

You never know how things come around and go around, until you can look back. Recycling is totally about things coming around and going around, and here’s what I can tell you about that.

Crochet! magazine with recycling article, Autumn 2015

My family has been into recycling since I was a kid. We started by collecting aluminum cans and selling them for 10 cents a pound. My brothers and I got to split the money.

For a long time, I despaired about old, worn, torn clothing and household textiles. I hated to throw them away, but at some point I had to, because what else could I do? Then my brother Van and his wife Kathy discovered American Textile Recycling Services at a green building event. They told me about it and solved one of my life’s dilemmas.

Since then we’ve recycled lots of textiles with ATRS, including shoes, pillows, old toys, and even fabric scraps and trimmings from my knitting, crochet, and art-making.

And then, yarn made from recycled textiles came to my attention. You can read more about these yarns in the Autumn 2015 issue of Crochet! magazine. The article is “How Recycled Textiles Become New Yarn,” on pages 10-12.

Flax flowers crocheted with Berroco Remix yarn

To write the article, I spoke to Debra, a very friendly and informative person at ATRS. She mentioned the ATRS blog, Our Greener Tomorrow. Maybe I could write a post for the blog at at some point, she said.

I did, and here it is: Suzann Thompson Retells Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Flax”

The flowers are the Rounded Petals version of “Millefiori” from Crochet Bouquet: Easy Designs for Dozens of Flowers, crocheted with Berroco’s Remix® which is made from recycled post-industrial textiles.

Crochet a Book for Book Lover’s Day!

August 9th, 2015

Small Crocheted Book Tutorial

Book lovers, this is your special day! Holiday Insights, my go-to site for information on interesting holidays, doesn’t list a founder or group which sponsors Book Lover’s Day. In fact, some controversy exists about the true date of Book Lover’s Day—August 9th or first Saturday of November?

The answer doesn’t matter, because to me, every day is Book Lover’s Day. But I’m glad to have a reason to post a photo-tutorial for the “Little Square Book” on pages 120-121 of Cute Crochet World.

These photos and notes are to supplement the printed instructions.

The pages and covers of the Little Square Book are made with two rounds. In the second round, the corners have a lot of stitches in them. Working between the corners in Rnd 2, you hdc or dc in the next three sts. To do this, you must pull back the corner stitches to reveal the first of the three stitches in which you must place a hdc or dc.

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

When the pages are finished and blocked, stack them as follows: back cover wrong side up, 3 pages, right side up, front cover right side up.

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

To bind the pages and covers together, place a slip knot on you hook, and insert hook into ch-2 sp at corner of front cover, 3 pages, and back cover, yo (see Photo 2). Draw the yo through all the pages and through the loop on the hook.

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

Photo 3 shows the hook inserted into each cover and page, ready for the next stitch: insert hook in next dc of front cover, next hdc of each page, and next dc of back cover. Yo and complete a sl st, drawing the yarn far enough up to allow the pages to assume their natural thickness.

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

When you are finished with the binding, the book will look like the one in Photo 4.

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

Now it’s time to crochet the book’s spine. Place the first st into the ch2-sp of the front cover, shown by the yellow arrow at right. Sk the next sl st. Sc into each of the next 7 sl sts shown by the yellow lines. Finally, sc into the ch2-sp at the other end of the front cover. This row is worked only the stitches of the front cover, and the sl sts made when you bound the book.

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

Here is the first row of the book’s spine, finished.

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

The spine is 3 rows of crochet. Bend the spine around the end of the book, then sew in place to the back cover. Weave in ends.

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

This book is the perfect journal for the tiny writer. Decorate with beads or embroidery, write on tiny scraps of fabric and sew them to the pages. Enjoy Book Lover’s Day.

Little Square Book crochet tutorial

The Little Square Book, with its heart on its cover, visits with books by some of my favorite authors: Barbara G. Walker, Carl Jung, Terry Pratchett, and Erle Stanley Gardner, creator of Perry Mason.