Posts Tagged ‘Crochet’

Free for Two Days Only! Crocheted Oak Leaf Pattern

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Fiber artists Alyssa Arney and Liz Flynn (@thread.winners on Instagram) called for community donations of crocheted or knitted oak leaves for “Reveries,” an exhibit they are putting on this summer.

Well, I felt quite a connection there, since I’m also putting on an exhibit this summer (more here).

AND I had a few crocheted oak leaves in my stash of crocheted flowers and leaves. So I’m sending these. Most are “Gambel Oak” leaves from Crochet Garden.

crocheted oak leaves

Alyssa and Liz’s project motivated me to dust off a different oak leaf pattern and publish it. The red and green leaves below are now available in my shop on ravelry.com.

Click here to download my Oak Leaf pattern FREE only on May 9 and 10, 2017. After that, the price will be $1.00. (You can still click here to go to my pattern page on Ravelry).

crocheted oak leaf pattern

Alyssa and Liz are offering a free crocheted oak leaf pattern as well. Find the link at their Instagram account (@thread.winners).

I look forward to seeing their finished project!

Consulting the Experts on Color

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

This is part 3 of my article about yellow that missed being published in 2006 when a magazine went out of business. The article has been updated.

It’s not something we generally think about much if at all, but most of us see the work of color experts every single day. Fashion, food, and craft magazines, advertisements, variegated yarns, and print fabrics are created for maximum appeal. Creators want you to buy them, so they make them beautiful.

For the price of old magazines and yarn or fabric already in our collections, we can consult their color expertise.

For my study of yellow, I gathered magazines that were destined for the recycling bin. When I saw attractive photos and ads with yellow in them, I tore them out.

Yellow, blue, turquoise collage

I ended up with a lot of pages that featured yellow, turquoise, and blue. That summery combination reminds me of swimming pools and sunny beaches with turquoise waters.

Maybe it wasn’t strictly necessary, but it was fun to make this collage…

…and these swatches.

Yellow, blue, turquoise swatches

Intarsia cables are kind of a pain, but they look so nice…

Intarsia knitted cables

As yarn lovers, we’re very familiar with variegated or multicolor yarns. Yarn manufacturers consult experts, predict fashions, and they pick the colors they think will appeal to the most consumers. The same goes for fabric manufacturers.

Go ahead—borrow their expertise!

yellow, pink, blue knitted swatch

Lion Brand’s Lion Ribbon (probably discontinued now) combines yellow with vibrant pink and blue. Small amounts of green, orange, and violet appear between the major colors. I tried to use similar proportions of solid colors in my knitted sample.

The pattern is Barbara Walker’s “String of Pearls,” most likely from her Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

Next time: “A Suffusion of Yellow” (Thank you, Douglas Adams.)

Studying Yellow

Friday, April 14th, 2017

This article was written for a magazine that went out of print before publishing it. It seemed a shame to keep it to myself, so here it is, and I hope you enjoy it.

Yellow crochet, the start of a doily

Sunshine, cowardly, lemon, journalism: yellow is many things. I was surprised learn that yellow is also “difficult.”

A friend took a creative color workshop with a well-known knitting instructor. Each student chose one color to study for the day. “But don’t pick yellow,” said the instructor. “It’s difficult.”

I scoffed at this, but to my amazement, I later heard the same pronouncement at an international quilt show.

Well, I say if a color is allegedly difficult, working with it is the only way to learn to use it well.

So let’s take a look at yellow together, and then you can use these methods to study any color you may find difficult. The best part is, no color wheels are necessary.

Basic Steps

Decide which specific color you want to study.

Yellow ranges from pale creams (yellow + white) to rich olive shades (yellow + black). Yellow school-buses are really orange-yellow, while fluorescent yellows have greenish overtones. Given the large variety of yellow, I concentrated specifically on brilliant yellows.

Observe your color in different surroundings.

Look for your color in nature, in human environments, in magazines, quilts, your own home, photos, museums, and books. At this stage, the goal is to gather lots of information about the color, and avoid judging the color combinations you see.

Answer these questions about the color and its surroundings.

  • What other colors are near the study color?
  • Are the nearby colors lighter, darker, or similar in tone to your color?
  • Do you see shadows or highlights that enhance the study color?
  • What are the proportions of the various colors?

Answer the questions in words rather than just taking a visual impression in your brain. Writing answers on paper may help you focus on words, rather than just relying on a mental snapshot.


Make sample swatches.

Knit or crochet samples with the color combinations you observed. This is your chance to try out some interesting stitch patterns. I still use Barbara G. Walker’s treasuries of knitting patterns. For crochet, my favorite is Harmony Guide to Crocheting Techniques and Stitches, by Debra Mountford, editor (1992).


Yellow in Nature

Yellow wildflowers along a caliche road

We have lots of yellow out here in rural Texas, and so I took some photos for this study. Here’s a picture of a county roadside near our house.

I wrote answers to the questions listed above:

The lemon and orange-yellow flowers are surrounded by deep yellow green and paler dusty green leaves; also light brownish gray dried leaves. The caliche road and the earth are light beige with pink undertones, but very bright. Flower centers and shadows are dark. Shadows aren’t exactly black. The amount of yellow is small in comparison to the greens and browns.

Just so you know, you may not like how your samples turn out. I didn’t like this one.

Yellow flowers and caliche knitted sample

Going back to the original photo and my own words, I realized I didn’t include the deep shadows that added contrast to the scene. Here’s the next sample with the deep shadow color added.

Yellow flowers and caliche knitted sample

I didn’t like this one much either, but I have learned not to let this put me off. Making these samples was not a waste of time. I learned something about these colors together. They may be perfect for a wall hanging someday. They may look better in different proportions. They may look a lot better to me in a few years.

Yellow flowers and caliche knitted sample

But it was time to move on.

Like you see in this picture of nightshade berries and a grasshopper, yellow in nature is often seen with black, gray, and various shades of brown. Sometimes a tan or grayish bird has a surprising patch of yellow feathers.

Here are knitted samples of yellow with grays and tan.

Yellow knitted with grays and tan

They’re okay. I won’t be making a garment with these colors, probably. But the yellow and gray combination makes a pretty good wall hanging!

Yellow knitted with grays and tan

Next time: Yellow Around the House.

Curlicue Poncho Design in Love of Crochet

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

Love of Crochet, Curlicue Poncho

When I proposed the Curlicue Poncho for Love of Crochet magazine over a year ago, I thought it was a long shot.

What a happy surprise it was to receive the acceptance letter last spring!

Love of Crochet, Curlicue Poncho

Then the work began. Remind me never (almost never) to propose a garment in single crochet. It takes forever! But the result was worth it. I liked the finished product, and then when the magazine came out, I liked it even more because of the fantastic model, styling, and photography.

Always on the lookout for ways to promote my books, I used dark Curlicues and red Small Flowers from Crochet Garden to embellish the lower edge. There are so many ways to use crocheted flowers.

Love of Crochet, Curlicue Poncho

Here’s an in-progress shot of the Curlicue Poncho: blocking the curlicues and flowers. When you finish crocheting each one, leave a long yarn end for sewing. It saves weaving in extra ends AND they look very cool when you block them.

The photo in the screen shot above is copyright Love of Crochet. The Curlicue Poncho pattern is in Love of Crochet, Winter 2016 issue. For the moment, print copies of the magazine are still on the newsstand. You’ll be able to buy digital copies of the issue at the Interweave Store for a long, long time.

Sweet Home

Saturday, 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

Tuesday, 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

Wednesday, 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 Rose” 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

Sunday, 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

Tuesday, 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

Autumn Leaf Wrap in Love of Crochet

Thursday, 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.