Wednesday, September 12, 2012

DIY Fred Astaire Scarf Pattern

I'm really happy to say that after being included in dozens of treasuries on Etsy, my Fred Astaire Scarf is now going to a new home!

I've always been a big fan of the debonaire Mr. Astaire and chose to include him in my series of knitwear dedicated to Old Time Movie Star Idols. Now that the scarf has a new owner, I've published a pattern so that even really new crocheters can make this fast and simple scarf. The pattern includes many suggestions for yarn and color variations, so there's no need to stick with the black and gray I chose for Fred.

You can get this pattern at Craftsy Have fun making several of these for yourself or to give as holiday gifts. The scarf only takes a few hours and a small amount of yarn, so it's perfect for unique, inexpensive presents.

Friday, June 01, 2012

The Search for a Great Sunhat Ends Here!

I don't know about you, but my search for a really great sunhat has been futile. Either they look good but don't keep enough sun off, or they're great looking but I don't want to lug around a big straw hat all day. (What do you do with those big hats when you go indoors?) Most hats I try on keep the sun off but look awful on me.

However, with a ball of cotton worsted yarn and my trusty crochet hook, I've come up with a great solution. My new hat has a definite Retro 1940s look. I really love the elegant fashions of that period and they look just right now, too. Therefore, I'll show you the hat first in a photo montage I just made of Ingrid Bergman wearing it and gazed at adoringly by Humphrey Bogart! (Photoshop is so much fun!)

Of course I can't promise you that you'll look like Ingrid when you wear this hat, but I can promise that if you have just the basic crochet skills, you'll be able to make it quickly, easily and inexpensively. In fact, the hat will cost less than two dollars to make in readily available Sugar and Cream, or Peaches and Creme yarn. The pattern includes suggestions for ways to alter it's design too, so you could easily make a half dozen of these and they'd all look different.

I love the coolness of this hat in pristine white. My design criteria were: coolness, hair-proof style, sun protection, and portability. I used openwork lace for the crown of the hat. All those little holes give it an air conditioned feel. They also minimize the tightness on the head that makes you end up with hat hair! I hate to go indoors, perhaps to a restaurant, and take off my hat only to find that my hair is ruined, don't you?

My second criteria of sun protection is built into this hat through a very tightly crocheted brim. The tightness of the stitches also keeps the brim from flopping. If you happen to be wearing this in a very windy place, the optional head band can be adjusted to a tight fit that will keep your hat from blowing off.

Finally, I like a hat that I can roll or fold up so it fits in a handbag or pocket and this hat certainly will do that. Because of the firmness of the stitching, the hat isn't altered by this and it looks just as good as new when you put it back on. I'll bet Ingrid really would have liked to have this!

You can find the pattern at Etsy and at Craftsy

If you decide to make this hat, I'd love to see pictures of your finished projects!

*** I'm giving away one copy of this pattern to someone (at random) who post a comment about the hat here. A reward will go to someone who takes just a minute to comment! ***

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Starfish DIY

This is an update on my crocheted starfish. I had a lot of requests so I put together a pattern that includes the starfish brooch, earrings and ring.

You can find it at Etsy and also at Craftsy

The pattern shows all three starfish designs in turquoise, but I'm now working on some coral/apricot/tangerine starfish and really they look good in so many colors.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I always love to speak knitting and crochet, even though my patterns are always written in simple English.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Starfish Are a Preview of Summer Beaches

My Turquoise Starfish Brooch

and Ring are a call to the sea.

I've loved poetry from my earliest years, most likely because of the music of its rhythms. I definitely remember learning this poem by heart when I was still quite young:

This is meter right out of Homer and moves the spirit for sure!

Starfish combine both the sea and the stars and also are wonderful design elements. A year or so ago I made a Turquoise Starfish Ring --

I used Perle cotton #5 to make it and it's been in quite a few Etsy treasuries. Then a few months ago, a customer asked me to make a starfish brooch --

Can you see the starfish impression on the shell? The brooch is made with a DK weight mercerized cotton.

On my worktable right now is a starfish earring I've designed. This is made with variegated embroidery floss and the tiniest hook I could get to work with that easily separated thread. I'll mount these on silver plated ear wires.

You can find the ring in my Etsy shop and the brooch here. finished them. I'm also making a PDF crochet pattern for these enticing creatures that will be coming soon. I wish I could be on the beach right now smelling the salty air and hearing the waves while I do my design work.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Lily of the Valley Necklace & Flowers - Harbingers of Spring

When my Lily of the Valley first bloomed I made this necklace to celebrate the arrival of High Spring.

Here's the necklace on a mannequin to give you an idea of the dimensions.

The necklace is large and makes a big visual statement, but because I crocheted it with fine threads, it's actually very lightweight. I'm fond of using French embroidery floss for my fiber art jewelry because it has a beautiful sheen and comes in an almost limitless number of colors.

Today I was delighted to see that the flowers are still blooming. This is unusual for Lily of the Valley which generally only lasts a short time in the garden. I'm assuming that the cold weather has lengthened their lifespan.

This picture shows them just after a rainstorm last week. I like the sparkly water on the sturdy leaves of these very delicate looking flowers.

These are the flowers I picked this morning. Not only do they look like little ivory bells, but they also smell so intensely sweet that the whole room is deliciously scented.

I'll leave you today with a close-up of the necklace showing my interpretation in crocheted thread of these lovely flowers.

To make this necklace I crocheted a band in a braided stitch with a vintage button fastener. Then I applied the flowers and stems to a leaf I crocheted, and sculpted the leaf around the flowers. Finally, I sewed the leaf and flowers to the necklace band. This is a very labor intensive, but also very satisfying process. My necklaces are strictly one-of-a-kind. You can find out more about this one by clicking on my Etsy shop.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pink Tulips Inspire a New Cuff

As promised, I have my Pink Tulip Baroque Crocheted Cuff Bracelet to show now.

This is how the tulips looked in the garden last week. When I cut some and put them in a vase, they opened out to over 7 inches in diameter. That gave me a chance to analyze the coloration more which led to the cuff itself. 

 The crochet of these cuffs is so detailed that I didn't want to have any visible closure. Instead I used a tiny snap to securely hold the bracelet together. Here's what the fastener side of the cuff looks like. This smooth closure is very comfortable to wear and easy to fasten too.

 I've been experimenting with Photoshop to join the cuffs and their floral inspiration. The next photo is an example of my playing around with Photoshop.

 Many of my friends on Facebook have expressed an interest in my making a pattern/tutorial for these cuffs.

 In the meantime, and for those who don't crochet themselves, the cuff is available in my Etsy shop here.

I'd be happy to hear about other color combinations that inspire you that you'd like to see reflected in these cuffs!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Totally Terrific Tulips and the Crocheted Bracelets They Inspired

I've been working on a series of Baroque cuff bracelets inspired by the amazing tulips blooming in my garden this spring. I went a little wild with the plant catalogs last fall and am now reaping the benefit of my indulgence in floral fantasy. Some of these tulips are just amazing. Their size and colors are a feast for the eyes.

Here's a sampling from my garden this week:

This is a close up of the gorgeous yellow, red and green Parrot tulips:

As they open up, they become more flamboyant looking!

Here are the giant red tulips with touches of yellow on them:

 As these flowers were coming into bloom, I was working on my thread crocheted cuff bracelets. I use fine French cotton threads to make them and a very tiny hook. At least 4 different colors and several stitch textures are incorporated into each bracelet. The intricate detail of these bracelets is reminiscent of the decorative Baroque style in the arts of the 17th and 18th centuries characterized by ornate detail. Think of the palace of Versailles, the music of J.S. Bach, and the paintings of Caravaggio and Rubens. I love the theme and variations quality of this work.

Here's one of the cuffs in blues:

This cuff is a polychrome interpretation of the tulip on the left:

Today I'm finishing a cuff bracelet related to these gorgeous pink tulips. I'll be showing the cuff bracelet companion to them soon!

As long as the garden keeps blooming and my imagination keeps going, there will be no shortage of these to make and display.

In the meantime, the blue cuff is available here:

and the polychrome cuff can be seen in my Etsy shop here:

Friday, March 30, 2012

Making PDFs for My Patterns

Perhaps it's because I was an English teacher, or perhaps because I spent some career time doing technical writing for a school district, but it takes me so long to get my pattern PDFs to look satisfactory to me. I'm a stickler for details and keep editing and editing!

This is my latest pattern which is now available here. I'll be adding it to my Craftsy shop and other places soon.

This Striped Baby Sweater and Hat Set is sized for newborn babies. It's made with sock yarn. There are many things I love about using sock yarn for babies. It comes in gorgeous colors, is available in great wool blends, is machine washable, is soft and lovely next to baby skin, and is generally fairly inexpensive.

The yarn used in this sweater set was a vintage Kroy sock yarn with a higher proportion of wool and more yardage than the newer Kroy sock yarns. The pattern works with any sock yarn though. Picture this made in many bright crayon colored stripes, or in muted pastels. If you use one of the variegated or self-striping yarns, the sweater would really go fast because there would be no color changing.

Except for the ribs, I knit this set with #3 needles - a larger size than I would have used for socks. Baby sweaters don't get nearly the wear of socks, and knitting with larger needles makes the sweater extra soft.

The greatest thing about this pattern is that the sweater is knitted in one piece, so when you're through knitting you only have to seam the underarms and sides. There's no tiny sleeve to set in. Really, this whole set takes much less time than making a pair of socks and is so much easier too. This pattern is for beginning knitters. You only have to know how to knit and purl to make this.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Knitting Pattern

Those of you who know me know that I'm very active online. I can be found at the following places in addition to here at my blog:

So why am I so derelict in writing in my blog???

Today, I finally finished a new knitting pattern PDF and I thought I'd motivate my inner blogger by posting the pattern here. It's one of the many patterns for which I have photos and instructions written out, but which I haven't made into PDFs yet. My many friends at Facebook keep asking me to get this done, so it's their motivational messages that have gotten me to do this one and to blog about it -- a mere 1 year since my last blog entry!!!

The pattern is great for beginners since it's really just garter stitch, but with a delightful and lacy difference. This led me to name the pattern Heavenly Garter Lace Scarf. I haven't posted it on Etsy yet, but if you "like" me at Facebook -- -- I'm having an introductory sale on the pattern this week. It will be $6.95, but I'm offering it on Facebook for $5. The pattern includes a tutorial on blocking lace and suggestions for ways to vary the stitch to make other scarves or even shawls. I hope you like it!