Monday, April 30, 2012

Zenith Crochet Bookmark Pattern

Z is for Zip-a-dee-doo-dah and Zenith Crochet Bookmark Pattern, of course.  The A – Z Blogger Challenge I’ve participated in for the month of April has been exhilarating; combining it with Knitting and Crochet Blog Week this past week has been phenomenal, and I’m in a zip-a-dee-doo-dah mood, to be sure!
I had already determined it was high time to re-energize my (very old) blogs, and these activities have truly inspired me to do just that. In fact, I spent much of the morning, prior to preparing this post, giving an entirely new look to one of them. I’ll keep you posted once the content is up to date, in case you’d like to follow me there too.
Nuts and bolts, as it were…
I need to file my A – Z posts into the pages on this blog this week; I’m hoping to finish sorting and categorizing them all by tomorrow.  Onto the zenith bookmark pattern, good people; I hope you enjoy making it as much as I did.

You Will Need

Size 8/1.50 mm steel crochet hook
Size 10 doily thread – This is a small project, so you don’t need very much. Leftover yarn from previous projects works well . You’ll need 3 colors, a base color and 2 colors for woven overlay.
Felt or other backing material: Scraps, denim from an old pair of jeans you’ve made into cutoffs for summer, anything that works with your creativity will do.
Foundation Chain:  Chain 16
Use the WovenOverlay Stitch to Create your bookmark.
Step 1:  Make mesh background the appropriate length for your bookmark.  Once it is the correct length, you can make the zenith (or crown) at the top of your bookmark. Do not break off.
Step 2:  Turn; slip stitch into 1st chain, 1st dc and 2nd
Step 3:  Chain 5, skip next 2 dc and slip stitch into next chain
Step 4:  Turn; chain 5, single crochet into chain 5 loop, chain 5, slip stitch into last chain of chain 5 loop from previous row.
Step 5:  Turn; [chain 5, single crochet in next chain 5 loop] twice; chain 5, slip stitch into last chain of chain 5 loop from previous round. Finish off. Weave in loose end.

Step 6:  Use 2 colors to finish woven overlay stitch, weaving over/under in alternating chain 1 rows. Make beginning and end tails long enough to weave in on back side of book mark.


Step 7:  Cut piece of matching fabric and attach to back of bookmark with fusible web, fabric glue or even by sewing it in place.

©2012 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week – Craft Your Perfect Day 3KCBWWC

Please play the video as you read this, to visualize the scene.

Coffee’s ready, or tea if you prefer. Come. Sit in the big, comfy chair that overlooks the beach. Listen to the waves in the background. Feel the mist of fog and warmth of the sun. Embrace the moment, breathe and embrace the day.

It begins with a calm awakening from a deep and restful sleep. Stretching, I gently touch my husband’s arm. He’s not ready to wake up yet, and I wouldn’t dream of waking him too soon. The room is cool, but not cold. I’m energized, filled with creative thoughts that slowly settle in my mind.

The ocean is so inviting as I stroll along the shore. Just me and my thoughts – colors and images planting seeds for new projects yet to be born. I walk up the steps to the beach house. As I pour the coffee, my husband smiles, putting his empty cup next to mine.  He invites me to the local arts and crafts fair being held in town, knowing I can’t resist. We can walk the beach to get there, and then return home with some fresh fish from the wharf for our meal.

As midday approaches, I pick up my crochet hook and the fancy new yarn and beads we purchased from the artisans at the fair. It’s a time to reflect, listen to the music of the waves and create the patterns in my mind.

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week Crafting Balance Day 3KCBWDAY7

Photo Credit: Wikicommons

Crafting balance isn’t merely about alternating between yarn craft skills for me. Clearly I’m more of a crocheter than anything else. However, I do use numerous other yarn and craft skills as necessary, to enhance many of my projects. Crochet is strategically a solid foundation, allowing other skills to develop and be displayed in embellishing ways throughout my work.  3KCBWDAY7

This particular hat and scarf is one of my earliest attempts to combine knitting and crochet together. I was bound and determined to learn to knit, especially since so many people said, “You either crochet or knit, but very few people actually do both and do them both well.” Sounded like a challenge to me…

Weaving is another fiber arts craft that I positively think is gorgeous. I’ll never profess to being a weaver, but I will use weaving as necessary to enhance my projects and make them a bit more …shall we say, unique? 

Photo Credit: Wikicommons

The same goes for beadwork. I mean, who can resist all those positively artsy beads out there, and why would anyone in their right mind want to, especially when they can make such phenomenal accents to beautiful projects?

Photo Credit: Wikicommons

The real crafting balance for me comes with writing about my crafts. This is where my personality comes full circle, because I was born a writer – not a photographer by any means. My natural instinct is to teach; I spent a number of years in the classroom, as well as daycare centers (including my own home daycare when my kids were young), and I thoroughly enjoyed the teaching phase of my life. My personal delight of the fine world of fiber arts is something that by rights has to be shared. The obvious answer comes to mind – a World Wide Web and blogging force the issues.

When you think about it logically, blogging can also be considered a craft, albeit a computerized one. So the quest for creating crafting balance in my life is more about balancing yarn crafts with blogging, than it is about preferring one yarn craft over the other. Learning the ins and outs of blogging will enhance my computer and photography skills in the long run, which consequently will encourage me to share my yarn crafts all the more. 

©2012 All Rights Reserved 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Yellow-bellied Yarn Skills 3KCBWDAY6

You know, sometimes I’m not all that comfortable yacking about my yellow-bellied yarn skills. I mean who likes to spend their time getting all caught up and tangled in things they can’t do well, when they’re perfectly happy and content making things with skills they’ve already mastered? Of course, if I had let this path of reasoning yield my yardage, I might never have taught myself to crochet in the first place.
That was some 30+ years ago – long before we had the Internet and all these amazing blogs and websites to follow and keep us up to date. How I yearn for the simplicity of those days of yesteryear sometimes.

Yearn and yesteryear are good “Y” words, and keeping things simple is definitely something I need to work on.

A – Z Blogger Challenge Letter Y
Knitting and Crochet Blog Week
Improving Your Skillset

As for the rest of it…
Here goes nothing…
Yield:  Who can’t relate to wanting to produce more projects per year than they already do? C’mon, you know you’d make your hands work faster if you could. Well, so do I, and I’d make my eyes focus on my project more closely too, instead of being distracted by… okay, I’d just like to make my hands work faster, so they could yield a few more projects annually. Life and my wonderful family can distract me anytime they want!

Gauge: It’s an intimidating concept to me, something that almost always causes me to adjust my patterns in some creative fashion. I won’t say I can’t gauge things effectively; what I will admit is that I usually ignore that part of the pattern, buy more yarn than I need and hope for the best.  In my mind, no two crocheters crochet alike. Therefore, making precise gauges is more of a lesson in frustration than imitation for me.

Yardstick:  I have to admit, posting to this blog has made me pull it out a lot more than I used to, but measuring and figuring out measurements, when I’m more in the mood to watch my project grow at record speed has never been my strong suit.

Visiting Yarn Stores:  Oh, I go to plenty of “general” hobby stores. What I don’t do enough of is hang around with other yarn enthusiasts and explore the limitless supply of unique yarns available. Yarn is a textile, something you need to hold and let inspire you. Visiting more yarn stores is a part of the fiber arts world that would help improve my yellow-bellied yarn skills in a multitude of ways.

Yank: True confessions here. I need an attitude adjustment when it comes to yanking out my work. It’s not so much fixing the mistake that’s the problem for me. It’s the process of going back and finding it, watching all those good stitches that followed it suddenly disappear, and spending all that time remaking what should be that much longer instead. I get really bummed when I have to yank out my stitches unexpectedly, and since I never anticipate ripping them out in the first place, that’s pretty much every time I have to yank them out at all.

©2012 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credits: Wikicommons, Public Domain

Friday, April 27, 2012

Xeranthemum Crochet Flower Motif 3KCBWDAY5

1 little, 2 little, 3 little petals….
4 little, 5 little, 6 little petals….
7 little, 8 little, 9 little petals…
10 little xeranthemum petals all around!
Now let’s hook it one more time around, and then your flower’s done!

A – Z Blogger Challenge Letter X
Knitting and Crochet Blog Week
Something a Bit Different

What did the 1st flower petal say to the 2nd flower petal?

Only 18 more petals to go and Xeranthe’s a mum!

Xeranthemum Crochet Flower Motif Pattern Instructions

Step 1:  Chain 6; form a ring

Step 2:  Make 20 flower petals in center of ring >>>>

>>>> Chain 6; beginning with 2nd chain from hook, work your way to the center ring, crocheting 1 stitch in each chain respectively like this: (sc, hdc, dc, hdc, sc); then, slip stitch in the ring and make another petal until you have 20 in all. Finish off and weave in loose ends.

Special tip: wrap slip stitches around beginning chain tail, so you don’t have to weave it in at all. 

©2012 All Rights Reserved 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Woven Overlay for Winter and Warm Weather Projects 3KCBWDAY4

Woven overlay crochet stitching is a technique that can be used for any season and just about any project you can imagine. You start with a classic mesh background, which you weave complementary colors of yarn through. I’ve used a variation of woven overlay in one of my most popular post right here on the blog, the table top decoration pattern. While it wasn’t made with a mesh background, the woven overlay accented it perfectly, and the beads are a nice embellishment too. Incidentally, that project stays out all year long in my home, regardless of season.  The same pattern would make a lovely placemat set. Add this to my growing list of projects I intend to make someday.

Remember the rectangle hat basics I shared with you a few posts back? Woven overlay is a great method for making warm winter hats using these instructions.  Simply follow the pattern below to make a rectangle the size you need, and then follow the basic steps listed in my rectangle hat basics post to make your hat. Of course, you can use any stitch combination you want to use woven overlay in your crochet patterns and projects. I just wanted to give you a quick and easy pattern in this blog post too.

A – Z Blogger Challenge Letter W 

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 

A Crocheter for All Seasons Day


Woven Overlay Mesh Background Instructions
Begin with a simple double crochet mesh background, which will be made by alternating double crochet and chain stitches across each row, so that your double crochet stitches are all made in the dc from the previous row, and your chain 1 stitches line up in vertical rows in your pattern too.
Foundation Chain: divisible by 2 (+6 more chain for pattern)
Step 1:  Double crochet in 6th chain from hook,* chain 1, skip next chain, double crochet in next chain
{Repeat from * across foundation chain, ending with a dc in last stitch.}
Step 2:  Chain 4 (counts as 1 dc + 1 chain stitch), *dc in next dc, chain 1
{Repeat from * across row, ending with 1 dc in 3rd chain from base of turning chain. Repeat Step 2 for pattern.}

Weaving the Woven Overlay Mesh Background
Uses 2 colors
Step 1: Take 3 strands of yarn and thread it through a tapestry or yarn needle.
Step 2:  Using Color A, weave over/under each chain 1 space, skipping the row between.

Step 3: Fill in the unwoven rows by using Color B to repeat Steps 1 and 2 until mesh background is filled in.
Special Note:  As you weave, it’s important to keep your overlay stitch even, avoiding weaving it too loosely or too tightly. Loose stitches will promote snagging and tightly woven stitches are likely to make your mesh background buckle. Btw, I think you could make a summer hat using the simple mesh background, without applying the woven overlay stitch. This pattern works well for all seasons. 

©2012 All Rights Reserved 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Vanna White - A Crochet Hero of Mine 3KCBWDAY3

Vanna White inspires me for a number of reasons. She’s used her talent, skills and beauty to become a very successful business woman. Vanna is not merely a television personality; she’s a working mother. This is a woman who takes the art of crochet to the next level. While most of us won’t end up with our pictures on skeins of yarn and in pattern books at our local or national craft stores, Vanna reminds us that it’s possible to use our natural skills and abilities in very creative and prosperous ways. I have to admit, I think it’s a little funny that Vanna never learned to read crochet patterns. It just goes to show you that a few basic stitches is all you need to make beautiful projects with lots of crochet stitches.  


A – Z Blogger Challenge Letter V and Knitting and Crochet Blog Week Crochet Hero Day 

©2012 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Public Domain

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ulmus – aka Elm Leaf Crochet Motif 3KCBWDAY2

Oh no! Ulmus went out to play in the garden, right when we needed him to tell us how he got so big. Can you help us find him?

A – Z Blogger Challenge Letter U and Knitting and Crochet Blog Week Photography Challenge Day


Here’s how Ulmus grew to be so big…

Ulmus started out as a simple chain of 15, which became his center stem.

Step 1:  First he grew down one side of his center stem:
1 sc, 1 hdc, 3 dc, 4 tr, 3 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc
…which is 14 stitches when you start by making your first stitch in the 2nd chain from the hook.

Step 2:  Then Ulmus stretched a bit, after going through such a grand and glorious growth spurt. Please chain 3 to show him stretching now.
Step 3:  Ulmus felt a little bit out of balance and repeated Step 1 down the other side of his center stem. The only difference is that he wrapped each and every stitch around that loose end, so he wouldn’t have to worry about it when he was fully grown.

Step 4:  Ulmus stretched again (chain 3) and single crocheted into the 1st stitch on the other side. The he started his picot dance to express his joy to all the world.
Ulmus’s Picot Dance
Chain 3, slip stitch in 3rd chain from the hook (picot complete); single crochet in next 2 stitches and repeat.
When you get to the chain 3 loop at either end, (sc, picot, sc) in the loop.
By the time Ulmus was finished dancing for joy and expressing himself to the world, he was very tired and slip stitched into his first stitch in the dance.

As it turned out, Ulmus wasn’t really playing in the garden at all. He was looking for a shady place to rest. Did you find him yet?

Notice how no two leaves are exactly alike in nature, or even in the picture above with Ulmus and his brother. It's okay to experiment and make slight variations in your leaf patterns, to add interest to your individual projects.

©2012 All Rights Reserved

Monday, April 23, 2012

Teal/Turquoise Tunisian Openwork Stitch Bookmark 3KCBWDAY1

Bookmarks are an easy item to crochet anytime and anywhere. I’ve made several of them over the years, and they are always treasured keepsakes to be kept for personal use, or given away as lovely gifts. Today’s bookmark is made with some leftover size 10 teal/turquoise variegated doily thread. It seems teal and turquoise are very familiar and welcome colors in my world. They’re main colors in my kitchen, accent colors throughout my home and I truly enjoy my blue tones of blooming flowers in my garden. Of course, I also have lots of other colors out there. As it turns out, I’m also very enthusiastic about variegated yarns. Don’t ask me why. I simply seem to have an abundance of it in my stash.  3KCBWDAY1

Today’s Tunisian pattern is going to use a standard hook to cast stitches on and off. Bookmarks don’t require a lot of foundation stitches, and it’s easier to work with doily thread this way. Before we get into how to make the bookmark, we need to discuss the appearance of the traditional Tunisian crochet stitch. 

You can see from the picture that there are vertical and horizontal bars. The Tunisian Openwork stitch requires you to alternate going through both a vertical and horizontal bar together, and then skipping the next vertical bar, and inserting your hook through the next horizontal bar only.


A – Z Blogger Challenge Letter T and Knitting and Crochet Blog Week Color Lovers Topic.

Tunisian Openwork Stitch Instructions (worked on front side of fabric only)

Step 1:  Chain an even number of stitches
Step 2:  Cast on loops across your hook, through each chain, keeping each loop on your hook >>> insert hook into chain or stitch, yarn over, draw up loop

Step 3:  Cast off loops >>> Yarn over, draw through 1 loop only (for the edge), *yarn over and draw through 2 loops on your hook.  Repeat from * until you have only 1 loop remaining on your hook.

Step 4:  Insert hook through next vertical and horizontal bar in the previous row; yarn over and cast loop onto hook.
Step 5:  Skip next vertical bar; insert hook into next horizontal bar and cast on loop.
{Repeat Steps 4 and 5 across row to cast on loops.}
Repeat Steps 3 – 5 for pattern.
Special Note:  Be sure to cast on loop from edge to keep your edge even.  It is important to count the loops you cast on, so they remain the same amount as your initial foundation row.

Tunisian Openwork Stitch Bookmark Instructions

You Will Need

Size 10 Doily Thread
Size D Crochet Hook
Beads for Fringe (optional)
Step 1:  Make a Foundation Chain of 12
Step 2:  Follow Steps 2 – 5 to make Tunisian Openwork Stitch pattern, until bookmark is the length desired. Finish off.

Step 3:  Cut strands of doily thread for fringe. Evenly space it across the foundation chain you made when beginning your bookmark. Use as much fringe as you’d like, based on personal preference.
Step 4:  To make fringe, pull a loop through, yarn over, pull through and secure

Add beads to fringe if desired. Depending on how you’d like your finished bookmark to look, you can add beads on each strand of fringe, or only on some strands. The beads you choose will also affect this decision.
Step 5:  After all beads and fringe is in place, trim the ends to even it out.
Step 6:  Take an end strand and tie it around all the fringe strands, securing it on the back side of your bookmark. Weave in loose strand at other end of bookmark.