Tag Archives | charm

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

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.

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Mark Your Calendars for Great Crochet!

We have a lot to celebrate on March 17 this year. We’ll wear green or maybe drink green beverages in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Then we can mosey down to the nearest newsstand for a copy of the Spring 2015 issue of Interweave Crochet.

Interweave Crochet, Spring 2015

(Photo credit: Interweave Crochet/Harper Point Photography)

One of my career goals has been to publish a design in Interweave Crochet. Well, this is it! My crochet charm lace Dogwood Scarf appears in this issue. And here’s the best part: it’s on the cover.

I hope you’ll buy a copy, because it has lots more great crochet designs in it. Or better yet, subscribe. Find more information here: Interweave Crochet, Spring 2015.

Find a photo-tutorial for the Dogwood flower at http://www.textilefusion.com/bookblog/?p=892

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Perspective Daisy Table Mat Finally Finished!

Perspective Daisy Crochet Charm Lace table mat

I enjoy getting together with family on weekends and “watching” football. Why did I put “watching” in quotes? Because I usually only look at the TV when people get excited, hoping that whatever fantastic play just happened will be shown again. Sound familiar, my fellow knitters and crocheters?

Yep, I’m usually working on some kind of project. But it can’t be too complex, because that would keep me from listening to the conversation and the commentary. So the project for this season has been Crochet Charm Lace.

Perspective Daisy Crochet Charm Lace table mat

Last weekend, as we watched the Texas Longhorns play football, I finished the Perspective Daisy table mat. I’m still debating whether to add more filler motifs. Before I decide, it needs to be used for a while. That way, I’ll be able to see where they are needed most.

On to the next project!

Perspective Daisy Crochet Charm Lace table mat

The Perspective Daisy pattern is from Crochet Garden: Bunches of Flowers, Leaves, and Other Delights. Follow the progress of the Perspective Daisy table mat project in these posts about Crochet Charm Lace. After rereading these posts, I see that I was arranging motifs for this project during a 2013 Texas Longhorn football game. Time flies.

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Step-by-Step Forget Me Not

Crocheted Forget Me Not Flower Tutorial

Today is National Forget-Me-Not Day! Who knew? Many thanks to Vintage Bell Broken China Jewelry, whom I follow on Facebook, for bringing this to my attention! National Forget-Me-Not Day reminds us to get in touch with friends and relatives that we don’t see very often.

National Forget-Me-Not Day has nothing to do with flowers, but what better day to bring you a tutorial for the Forget Me Not flower on pages 86-87 of Crochet Garden? You’ll need a small amount of yellow yarn for the center, white or very light blue for Rnd 2, and sky blue for the petals.

Crocheted Forget Me Not Flower Tutorial

Rnd 1 is the brilliant yellow, single crochet center of the flower. Rnd 2 tells you to join the next color “with dc in FL of any st of rnd 1.” To join with a double crochet, place a slip knot on your hook and yarn over. Holding the yo in place on the hook, insert hook into the front loop of any stitch of Rnd 1.

Crocheted Forget Me Not Flower Tutorial

Draw up a loop (as in photo). Now you have three loops on your hook, which is exactly what you need to finish the double crochet. Work the rest of the stitches of Rnd 2 in the front loops only of Rnd 1.

Crocheted Forget Me Not Flower Tutorial

Here’s Rnd 2 all finished, with the yarn ends woven in. Do you see the stitches of Rnd 1 that have no stitches of Rnd 2 in them? We’re going to call those “free sc”s.

Crocheted Forget Me Not Flower Tutorial

Rnd 3 is worked in the back loops of the stitches of Rnd 1, so you need to fold Rnd 2 to the front, completely out of the way, and insert your hook behind Rnd 2 into the back loops of Rnd 1. The first stitch of Rnd 3 goes in any “free sc” of Rnd 1.

Crocheted Forget Me Not Flower Tutorial

When you’re finished with Rnd 3, it looks like this from the front…

Crocheted Forget Me Not Flower Tutorial

…and like this from the back, for a total of 15 sc.

Crocheted Forget Me Not Flower Tutorial

Rnd 4 begins with ch 1, and then a sc in the first “free sc” of Rnd 1. The sc will seem fat and tall, because it is created around the sc of Rnd 3, and the ch of Round 2 at that point. Both those stitches will be hidden from view by this new sc.

Crocheted Forget Me Not Flower Tutorial

Now it’s time for a little multitasking. Work the next three stitches by inserting your hook into the next chain space of Rnd 2 AND also in the next sc of Rnd 3. The ch-sts of Rnd 2 will be hidden inside these three sts.

Crocheted Forget Me Not Flower Tutorial

The next two sts go into the next tr of Rnd 2. Ah, simple.

Crocheted Forget Me Not Flower Tutorial

Once again, you’ll be multitasking for the next three sts. They are worked into the next ch-sp of Rnd 2, AND in the next st of Rnd 3.

Whew! Done with one petal and ready to start the next petal with sc in the next free sc of Rnd 1. Four more petals, and you’re done!

I added some Ladder Leaves (page 71 of Crochet Garden) and filler motifs to my little Forget Me Nots, to create this piece of Crochet Charm Lace.

Crochet Charm Lace with Forget Me Not Flower

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Dream Home—A Crochet Picture

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.

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New Crochet Charm Lace Scarf, Starring Televisions

For crocheters and fans of word play, here is the TelevisionStars Scarf. The motifs are from Cute Crochet World: “Vintage Television” (with regular antenna) and the Simple and Elementary School Stars of “Starry Night.”

The TVs are made with Classic Elite Liberty Wool. My stash of golden color yarns came in handy for the stars. You can use a wide range of weights and fibers of yarn in a Crochet Charm Lace scarf.

After finishing and blocking all the TVs and stars, I arranged them right-side-down on my scarf template (mine is a strip of burlap, but any sturdy fabric will do). Think of trying to fit a lot of oddly shaped pieces into as small an area as possible, and you’ll understand what arranging motifs for Crochet Charm Lace is like. The arrangement was fairly good, but a lot of spaces were too small to fit another star into, but too large to leave open.

I chose Lion Brand Cotton Bamboo “Cherry Blossom” for the filler motifs, because its pretty vintage color looked great with the old-fashioned televisions. Some filler motifs are single crochet sts worked into a ring; the others are half double crochet sts worked into a ring.

Once all the motifs were in place, I safety-pinned each motif onto the fabric template. It was time to sew. Through trial and error, I have learned that yarn makes sturdier seams than sewing thread. I split sewing lengths of one of the gold 4-ply yarns into two 2-ply strands and used the for sewing.

After sewing about six inches of motifs together, I couldn’t wait to look at the finished product. Wow! I loved it!

On my way home from New York, one of my flights was cancelled because of storms in the Dallas area. While waiting for the next flight, I sewed stars and TVs. Our altered route took us around the storms, adding 45 minutes to our travel time. I sewed TVs and stars.

Back at home, I took out all the safety pins. The next step is my favorite part of Crochet Charm Lace: turn the finished piece right-side-up.

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Crochet Charm Lace Along—Pinning Motifs

Crochet Charm Lace with motifs arranged

It’s a great day when you finish all the motifs for your Crochet Charm Lace project! To me, that’s when the real fun begins: arranging the motifs on the template.

The last of my motifs were blocked on Monday, so that night, while the Texas Longhorns were thwacked by the Fighting Ducks of Oregon, I sat on the floor in front of the coffee table at my parents’ house, arranging and pinning Perspective Daisies. It was a lot more fun than actually watching the football game.

I spread the different flowers around evenly, taking care to avoid symmetry in the design. You might call it “planned randomness.”

Crochet Charm Lace—filler motifs

The orange flower arrangement looked elegant. “Do I really need to add the green and magenta filler motifs?” I wondered. The finished lace with orange flowers only would have more open spaces, but not too many.

The ballgame was over, so I rolled up the fabric template and packed up to go home. Luckily, I had time to think this over.

Today I spread the template out and photographed it with just the orange flowers on it. Then I placed the green and magenta circle motifs and took another picture.

Yay for digital photography! It’s a great design tool. You can photograph your project with different arrangements or colorways, then download them onto a computer and look at all the photos on the screen at the same time. That’s the easiest and best way to make a design decision—with all the choices in front of you.

Comparing Crochet Charm Lace options

Adding the green and magenta circle motifs filled in the spaces between flowers, which made the lace seem sturdier. The extra color added richness and made the arrangement look more happy and natural. Okay, okay. Rich, happy, and natural wins over elegant any time.

But you know, that’s my opinion. You are free to make your own choices about arranging motifs, without any thought or fear about what anyone else thinks.

Here they are all pinned! I ran out of safety pins, which are preferable, but straight pins will do the job. Just be careful when you’re working with the straight pins—they can stab! Next step: sew the motifs together.

Crochet Charm Lace—motifs pinned to fabric template

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Crochet Charm Lace Along—Blocking Motifs

Blocking crocheted Trillium

Ask any good craftsperson about finishing, and you will hear the same thing: finishing takes longer than you think it should, but finishing must be done, and must be done well. It doesn’t matter whether you’re sewing a dress, crocheting a sweater, or building a house.

That brings us to blocking, an essential part of finishing your work. Blocking is best practice. All the pros block their work. A reader, writing about crocheted flowers, said “no worries, you can block it into shape!” But no, blocking is not a way to alter the shape of your crochet or to force it into a shape it wasn’t meant to be.

Blocking allows your stitches to assume their intended shape; it relaxes and sets the yarn so the stitches will retain their intended shape.

Unblocked crocheted Perspective Daisy

The stitches of crochet and knitting tend to pull in one direction or another, so they often cause your work to curl. My little Perspective Daisies (from Crochet Garden) are so curly they look like nine-legged spiders. In the process of making Crochet Charm Lace, the flowers will be pinned to a fabric template. Unless I want to place a pin in each petal to hold it flat as I try to arrange the motifs and fit them together (nightmare!), the flowers need to be blocked.

Here’s how to block small pieces, like flowers:

You will need

  • A place to lay out your work to dry and maybe to pin
  • Water, either from the tap or in a spray mister
  • Pins (possibly)
  • Steam iron
  • Clean press cloth (optional)
  1. Moisten crocheted piece. You can spray the piece with a mister, or hold a handful of flowers under the tap, then squeeze out excess water.
  2. Unfurl and stretch out all the bits that are meant to be flat. I did this for each and every daisy petal. That took some time.
  3. Pinned crocheted Perspective Daisy

  4. If a piece still curls stubbornly, pin it flat.
  5. You may stop here and simply let the items dry, especially if your yarn will not take well to steam.
  6. If you are going to steam your pieces, consider turning them face-down. This protects the public side of your piece in case the unthinkable happens (you know, scorching).
  7. You may wish to use a press cloth to protect your pieces. Moisten and wring out a clean tea towel or cloth diaper. Lay it over the crocheted piece.
  8. Using a washrag for a press cloth

  9. Bearing the weight of the steam iron in your hand, hold the iron over the pieces and let the steam penetrate the stitches. (The iron will release steam from the press cloth, too.)
  10. Let the pieces dry, remove pins if necessary.

For a thorough discussion of blocking and its various uses, read Lily Chin’s Couture Crochet Workshop.

Blocked crocheted Perspective Daisies

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Crochet Charm Lace Along—Make a Template and Crochet Motifs

Make a Template

Crochet Charm Lace can be any shape you want. All you need is a fabric template in that shape.

Crochet Charm Lace template

For the Flower Cloth Scarf in Crochet Garden, I used a piece of fabric the exact size I wanted the scarf to be. It’s just a long rectangle. In the photo, you can see that I used burlap. That’s what I had on hand that day. Since burlap frays so easily, I machine sewed a line of zig-zag stitch around the outside.

Crochet Charm Lace, Rose Cape Template

The Rose Cape template is sewn from a commercial pattern. I used some old double knit fabric, which didn’t require any zig-zag stitch on the edges. Can you see the piece of cardboard I placed between the front and back of the cape? That was to keep me from pinning through both layers of the template.

I suppose you could use a garment for a template, as long as it won’t be ruined by the many pins you will use to hold the motifs in place.

Crochet Motifs

Blocking crochet motifs

Crochet your chosen motifs, weave in ends, add details as necessary (like the centers of the Perspective Daisies), and block them. Motifs are much easier to arrange and pin after they are blocked.

The original plan for my Perspective Daisy table mat was to include the daisies and some leaves. Here they are on the ironing board.

To block, I held the motifs under the water tap, then squeezed the water out as best I could. I unfurled and stretched every petal, turned the flowers right-side-down, and steamed carefully with the iron.

How Many Motifs Will You Need to Crochet?

Crochet Charm Lace, estimating number of motifs

Good question!

  1. Fold your template into quarters and mark the size of one quarter (1/4). I ironed the folded piece to set the creases. Then I could easily see how big 1/4 of my template was.
  2. Crochet enough motifs to cover the marked area. Make sure the motifs you crochet represent the variety of motifs you will use in your finished project. I needed about 14 daisies to cover 1/4 of my table mat template.
  3. Write a list of the motifs and how many you needed to cover 1/4 of the template. Multiply the numbers by 4 for an estimate of the total number of motifs you will need to crochet. My table mat will need about 14 x 4 = 56 daisies in all.

Crochet Charm Lace motif list

This method gives you a chance to experiment with arranging the motifs. I really wanted to have leaves among the daisies, but no matter how I arranged them, the leaves looked awkward. Regretfully, I put the leaves aside and used green crocheted circles as space fillers instead of leaves.

Here’s my list of daisies made with different yarns. I checked them off as I finished them.

Next time: more about arranging motifs.

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Crochet Charm Lace Along—Choosing Motifs

Crochet Charm Lace doily

For Crochet Charm Lace, you need crochet motifs, like flowers and leaves. Naturally, I’d love for you to use patterns from my books. There are lots of other motif books, with cute patterns for birds and butterflies to sea creatures.

With all that choice, what do you do?

  • You can choose lots of different motifs, for a look the doily above, which I made some years ago for an article at crochetinsider.com.
  • Twirl Center Rose and Paisley

  • You can choose a major motif and one or two accent motifs. The main motif from the pink Flower Cloth Scarf (see previous post) is the Twirl Center Rose; Paisley is the accent motif. Find patterns for both these motifs in Crochet Garden.
  • Or you can strike a balance between the two: several motifs, like in this pink, yellow, and green sample where you see all the variations of Center-or-Not and the Plain Veined Leaf from Crochet Bouquet.

Center-or-Nots in Crochet Charm Lace

For my Crochet Charm Lace Along project, a table runner, I am going with option 2. After some trial and error, I decided to use the two variations of Perspective Daisy from Crochet Garden, along with lots of filler circles. At first it was also going to have leaves, but that didn’t work out. Pictures later.

Filler circles are meant to fill in the awkward spaces between motifs that are to small to fit a regular motif into, but too large to be acceptable. Filler circles are one round of sc, hdc, or dc. You will probably make lots of these. Tiny motifs work well for this, too.

On Tuesday, look for “Make a Template and Crochet Motifs.”

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