Friday, April 30, 2010

Here, There, and Everywhere!

Today's topic for the Knit & Crochet Blog Week is "Where do you like to indulge in your craft?" and, for me, it is more like "Where don't I?"
When I was younger I used to tease my sister because she was always knitting. Now, I know why. It's so easy to take my knitting and crochet wherever I go. I spent an hour knitting in the car last night, waiting for my daughter who was late from rehearsal. So, I have gotten into the habit of keeping a project with me most of the time. You never know when you'll need to kill some time.

My most favorite place to knit or crochet is around the campfire. We cook outside a lot in the summer, whether it's while camping, or just in our back yard. We often grill over a wood fire and sometimes use the dutch oven. One thing about knitting (or crocheting) around the fire, is that your project will smell like smoke. So, I wouldn't work on a custom order, or anything that couldn't be washed. But something that's going to be felted in the washing machine anyway is the perfect project!

I especially love making shawls. They're such an old world style and working on one while relaxing around the fire gives me a wonderful "homey" feeling. Oh and it's even better when the kids are singing Spongebob's C.A.M.P.F.I.R.E. S.O.N.G. song!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Knit & Crochet Blog Week Day 3 (and 4) seems that I blog too much. hehe
The topic for day 3 was "One Great Knitter" - I'll expand that into crochet. I have often written about The Crochet Works of Sally V. George. In a recent post, I showed a particular technique that I adapted from one of Sally's patterns. And, once again, I'll say how grateful I am that her daughter has made the original patterns available on her website at Check out the list of free crochet patterns for some vintage fun.
And, just yesterday I wrote how inspired I was by the cables on the tunic pattern from Lion Brand. Cables are definitely a skill that I hope to learn some day.

As far as a crochet skill, I'd like to do more in Tunisian crochet. Isn't this jacket beautiful? Check out the designs by Julia Bryant. They are gorgeous!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

An Inspirational Pattern - Knit and Crochet Blog Week, Day 2

Cables! I love the beauty of the many knit cable stitches, but I haven't taken the time to try them. Well, I did try a cable pattern a long time ago, but I was new to knitting and totally confused. This particular pattern from Lion Brand is beautiful, but probably not something I'd choose as my first attempt. They were offering it as a knit-a-long awhile ago and I would have loved to try it. Maybe someday. For now, I think I'll stick with a simple cabled leg warmer design.
To see more posts from Day 2 of Knit and Crochet Blog Week click HERE.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Starting Out - Do More Than Chain - Knitting and Crochet Blog Week , Day 1

When I was young, my Mom taught me how to crochet, or so I thought. I knew how to chain, chain, chain. And chain long chains I did. It was years later, when I had my own kids, that I decided to learn on my own. I had some old needlework books which each included a chapter on Crochet. That, combined with all the crochet books that our tiny town library had, provided me with the basic knowledge needed. I gave away some funky hats and eyeglass cases, lots of crochet-topped towels and dishcloths, and slippers galore. After awhile, I decided to try my hand at local craft shows and almost got stuck in the poncho era.
My skills evolved with a desire to create my own designs. I still enjoy creating classic designs in shawls, hats, mittens, and slippers, while not afraid to step out of the box and make something fun or "different". As I've written about before, I often find inspiration from buttons, especially BIG buttons, and I'm not afraid to create my own designs without patterns. Luxurious wraps, felted purses, funky hoods, etc
As far as knitting is concerned, I started out slowly. I had a busy crochet business, and knitting anything seemed to take me forever in comparison. I do love to knit, and am still learning many techniques. I am grateful for the internet access that we have now, compare to when I was first learning crochet. It's easy to look up a knit stitch or bind-off method online.
I'm glad that my Mom showed me the basics of crochet. She still crochets and knits, some for accessories for herself, and some for charity. My sister is a wonderful knitter and especially enjoys knitting her own handspun wool. I have taught my daughter to crochet and she knows the basics enough to teach her friends to make bracelets and scarves. She also models many of my creations.
You can read more entries from Day 1 of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week HERE.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Knit & Crochet Blog Week is next week!

Calling all yarn-loving bloggers!
Next week is Knit & Crochet Blog Week. Hosted by eskimimi knits, every day between 26th April – 2nd May 2010 there will be a blogging topic (relating to knitting and crochet) asking for your experiences, opinions and hopes on various aspects of your hobby, one topic and a short explanation is provided for each day, plus a ‘wildcard’ topic in case you just don’t fancy one of the blogging topics for any particular day.
Check out eskimimi knits blog for a complete list of topics and FAQ's!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Digging In

We've got the garden tilled and have some herbs and onions growing. The asparagus is just starting to pop up! If you haven't yet, check out this asparagus post from May '08 for tasty tidbits....
Jolly Green Giant - asparagus recipes

Monday, April 19, 2010

Vintage Inspiration

I dug up some really fun things while sprucing up my craft room! I don't really like calling it a craft room, but it's not really a "studio" either. Truthfully, it's a room to hold the yarn. As much as I try, I can't help but have piles, bags, and bins of yarn everywhere. I was able to assemble the wools and added some cedar blocks to keep it clean. I'm glad I made room for this table. It will be nice to sew somewhere other than the dining room table.
As I've noted in previous posts, buttons are always inspiring. I've often designed things based on buttons. And some will wait for the perfect project. While most are in a shoebox, I laid out a few, just for inspiration. Sometimes when they get put away, I lose track of what I have and what I want to make with them.

My favorite re-find as I was organizing was a stash of vintage books and magazines. "Make It With Mademoiselle" was published in 1971 and has some really cool chunky knit and crochet designs as well as some other fashion and home decor patterns.
These McCall's "Needlework and Crafts" were published annually and are a huge 13", compared to later, common-sized issues. The older issue doesn't have a date anywhere. It says "McCall's Needlework & Crafts Annual Vol. IV" I couldn't find anything online about what date this would be. They seemed to switch to a bi-annual magazine in the 1950's, and some of these look older (perhaps late 40's? if not early 50's). These hats are beautiful. I've been on the lookout for sequins! I love the one in the top right. I would love to try that on! Maybe I could start a new trend.
I went through some of the issues from the 1970's and thought I'd like to make a top like this, with crochet and gauze. I remember wearing something similar. There are also some cape designs that I'm anxious to study. I love making capes and have a few ideas for Fall.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One Sweater Two Bags

It's coming up on Earth Day and I always try to find a new project or creative way to reuse or recycle something. I rescued this wool cardigan from a thrift store and couldn't decide whether to keep it or not. I got tired of Spring cleaning around it, and of not being able to make up my mind!

So, today, I made the decision and took my scissors to it! Using only the main body of the sweater, I was able to make these two fun recycled bags. The first one is a messenger/flap style, using a recycled adjustable strap and leather tabs. The other makes good use of these simple, but large wooden hoop handles.
Nothing fancy, yet perfectly reusable!
Here's Bag 1 -
and Bag 2 -

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chicken Scratch?

Have you ever come across a note and wondered "what the heck was I thinking?" or "I wonder what this is supposed to mean"? I've had this envelope in my pattern folder for a few years now, and, only recently remembered what it referred to. I knew it was an important reminder, but of what, I had no clue.
This is actually a handmade chart for a crocheted shawl pattern. Normally, I don't use charts very often. Charts are more for filet crochet, or intricate thread designs. At the time, I wanted to remember how I had started this particular shawl....without writing out all the stitches.
Now that I've tried it again, I know why I had written it out that way. It was a favorite design and it saved a lot of writing. It was a lesson learned - to take better notes!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I'm finishing up a pretty shrug for a customer today and tomorrow, but I've also signed up for the CreateCrochet Team's Frog-a-thon. The challenge is to finish as many WIPS and PIGS as you can. I've got several items that need finishing.
One WIP (or work in progress) is a sweater with a lot of ruffling. I finished the sweater part fairly quickly, but the ruffle takes forever! I've decided to keep this one to wear to shows. I might skip this project since I won't need it until Fall.
I also have a purse design in a bag (PIGS = Projects in Grocery Bags), but I've only just started it. Perfect handles and purse feet await.
I have these two felted bags that need finished, lined and assembled.
I thought I'd check the blog for WIPS. I found this hat, which is to be felted. I also have one black glove and one purple glove, which both need a match.

The Frog-A-Thon ends Sunday - stop back to see the result!
***The update is....that there is no update! LOL It was a gorgeous weekend. We had friends and family visiting and I didn't get much accomplished on the crochet front. There's always tomorrow : )