Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Crochet Ying Yang Bag Update


The crochet ying yang bag is near completion.  I stopped on it earlier tonight to work on other projects.  The only part left is the strap.  I'm going to make it pretty long with a single crochet edge around.  It will be embellished with polymer clay ying yang buttons (after I make them).

I also made more....you guessed it, more flowers.  I had some pink tags I had made some time ago that go great with the pink baby hats and hair bows I had been making. Completely and utterly addictive.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Crochet Ying Yang Bag WIP


Well diagramming wasn't working for me so I just decided to wing it.  I wanted to make a bag with the Ying Yang symbol crocheted into it rather than added as an applique, similar to what I did for the Africa tote.  The problem I had with the Africa tote were the stray ends after I had connected the new colors and cut them off.  They were everywhere!  I found a solution!  I now crochet the stray ends into the piece and instead of cutting them off, I leave them and weave them in as they are needed.  Sounds confusing?  Well I have pictures.  I did this entire bag in herringbone half double crochet, which is my staple for all bags that are not totes or mesh.  It is worked in the round and up with a 5 mm hook.

 This was how I started.  I left the strands for all three colors attached the entire time.  Previously I was cutting them off as soon as I was done with them and reattaching, which of course left a bunch of stray ends all over the place.  I started this last night.

I had no idea how this was going to turn out.  I knew from diagramming that getting a perfect circle was going to be a challenge so I opted for a diamond.  I just went with the flow and hoped it worked out at this point.

This is the inside.  I just weaved them in as I doubled around the second time.  This made for a more seamless transition.

The completed ying yang symbol (almost).  I am eager to see the end.  I am still deciding how the strap should go.  I am happy with these results so far.  I have a mold I made some time ago for a ying yang symbol so there will definitely be some buttons and embellishments for it.  The inside is a lot more refined also.

 The other side.  So far this is still a work in progress.  I will post the rest later.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Soft Swirls hat and Free Flower Tutorial


Last night I drew out the diagrams for the bag I am going to make.  It will be a challenge, but one that will be well worth the effort.

I did start on a soft swirls hat, which I finished today.  I wanted a removable flower embellishment for it.  The ones previously were sewn onto the hat.  I made up a pattern as I went along and here is what I came up with.

I was working on the swirls hat pattern here.  I used Caron Simply Soft in autumn red.  I began the weave too tightly.  I didn't remember until I got to the latter rows that this should be done a bit loosely for the "drapey" effect.  Below is the finished hat with the flower embellishment.  Pardon my camera's colors.  I am using my camera phone...it takes pretty decent pictures without the hassle of removing sd cards (I can just email/upload them).  The autumn red looks more fuschia here but you get the idea.  This hat is smaller because I didn't crochet it loosely.  The flower is removable.

Now onto the flower pattern.  It is simple enough to whip up a few while traveling and versatile enough to change the pattern up if you get the notion.  Anywho here we go.

Small amounts worsted weight yarn
     I used Caron Simply soft in Autumn Red and Bone
H hook

Ch= chain
Sl st= slip st
Sc= single crochet
Hdc= half-double crochet
Dc= double crochet
Tr=treble crochet
Beg= beginning
*= repeat
Rnd= round

3 layers, 3"

Start with main color (mine was autumn red)
Ch 5, join with sl st to form ring
Round 1- Ch 1, sc in the ring 11 times; join with sl st in beg ch. (12 sc)

Round 2- Ch 4. *Chain 3, skip a sc and sc into the next sc.*  Repeat from * - * 5 more times; join with sl st in first sc of starting ch. (6 ch 3 spaces)

Round 3- Sl st into first ch 3 space, ch 1, (sc, hdc, dc, hdc, sc).  Repeat (sc, hdc, dc, hdc, sc) in each of the next 5 ch 3 spaces (First six petals created)

Round 4- Sl st into back of sc on the first petal.  Ch 4, sl st in sc on the next petal.  Continue around 5 more times for a total of 6 ch 4 spaces.

Round 5- Sl st into first ch 4 space, ch 1, (sc, hdc, dc, tr, dc, hdc, sc).  Repeat in each of the next 5 ch 4 spaces (second set of six petals created).

Switch out to second color (mine was bone)
Round 6- Sl st into back of sc on the second petal.  Ch 5, sl st in sc on the next petal.  Continue around 5 more times for a total of 6 ch 5 spaces.

Round 7- Sl st into first ch 5 space, ch 1, (sc, hdc, dc, 2 tr, dc, hdc, sc).  Repeat in each of the next 5 ch 5 spaces (third set of six petals created).  Fasten off.

I attached a clip to the back using a jewelry and fabric embellishing glue so it could be used as a hair clip.  I may make a matching scarf to go with the hat and  more flowers that could be used as embellishments for it.  Buttons could be sewn into the middle for added interest.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

More Earrings


I have more earrings that I have created in preparation for the Crafty Feast Freedom Festival.

This set was made from speckled stone beads and wood beads that were once part of a bracelet.
Domino Earrings.  Ever tried poking a hole through hard plastic?  Three drill tips later I had success.

African dot printed beaded earrings

Crochet Rasta dangle earrings in large size and small size.   The small circles are dime sized and the larger circles are quarter sized.

A vintage style crochet pin I made some time ago.  It was one of my first thread crochet projects and I've been hooked ever since.  The stone came from a necklace I had bought at a local flea market (and taken apart).  It is a beautiful delicate piece with a nice dainty and vintage feel to it.

Soft Elegance in black earrings with African print beads.

I made these awhile back and was uncertain how I felt about the pair.  My niece really liked them.  She had commandeered the pink elegance earrings over the Memorial Day weekend and thought I was crazy for not even showing these during setups.  The thread is a beautiful copper tone with wooden beads.  See my niece wearing them here.

Pink elegance soft crochet earrings.

  I am going to devote the remainder of the week to larger projects such as the swirl cap and scarf set (one variation shown) and purselets.  It's been awhile since I made a swirl cap.  I have yet to make the scarf the same.  This was my first (and last) skinny scarf (I'm not a fan of skinny scarves).  I was limited on the scarf because I didn't have much yarn left.  This entire ensemble takes one skein of 6 oz Caron Simply Soft.  I made this cap in autumn red (caron simply soft) for the winter and got compliments everywhere I went.  It fits somewhere between a beret and a tam (mostly tam) so it accommodates long and short hair nicely.  It was inspired by this pattern.  I've made some changes from his original concerning stitches and overall design but not too terribly significant (just overlook the stitching pattern lines and lack of brim and use of different yarn and larger hook size).
 UPDATE: I do have an idea for a bag that I am going to make as soon as I can.  This will be an original pattern so if I'm not too excited I'll write down my steps and take pictures of my progress.  If I get carried away, I'll just post the results and a rough overview of what I did.  

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Preparing for the show!


Less than two weeks to go until the Crafty Feast Freedom Festival!  I've been working on a lot of other projects and consulting work outside of crafts so I haven't amassed as much of an inventory I would have liked up until this point.  I am busy taking pictures and recruiting models to take pictures of so I can have a book of designs to show and take custom orders while I am there.

I am working on small projects to sell like keyrings and dish/wash cloth sets.

 These are keyring lip balm or lip stick holders.  They are quick and easy to make and I can do a bunch in different colors.

 These keyrings are my favorite.  They are tiny crochet stuffed hearts and while it takes a bit more effort to make them  they are unique and cute!  I used this pattern as a starting point; however, since my hearts are much smaller a great deal more improvisation was in order.  I don't have the "pop" quality as the pattern does.  These hearts are about one to two inches high (depending on the yarn used), just the right size for cute adorable keyrings.

This beautiful unique dishcloth pattern comes from here.   I had tried my hand at knitting and while I did get the hang of it, it was a painstakingly slow process for me.  It's funny because knitters have told me they thought crochet was just as slow.  Anyway, the Tunisian afghan stitch gives me the ease of crochet with the look of knit and is really easy to pick up on and learn.  These dishcloths work up quickly.  I finished the set with the two scrubbies in less than an hour and the pink one in less than twenty minutes.  I did change the pattern...I wouldn't be me if I didn't.  I didn't sew up the ends like he suggested in the pattern.  I just slip stitched the wedges closed, drew in the middle stitches and single crocheted around the edges and added a chained loop to hang.

 One of my favorite hats to make is the crochet mesh cap.  They are light and airy and good for both summer and winter (at least in South Carolina).  The flower is a generic one and is detachable with a hair clip to be worn on the hat, on a headband, in the hair, or on a scarf or bag.  The yarn used is Bernat Satin (for both the flower and the hat) so it has a velvety feel and a sheen that doesn't translate through the photograph.

This one was made some time ago and is bigger than the black one.  The yarn is Vanna's Choice.  I didn't add a flower (although I am contemplating doing so).  I am going to do a few more of these mesh caps.  I have enough of the satin black to do at least two more and I'll make a few in pink for little girls to wear.

This is completely unrelated to crafts but worthy of a post.  My garden is finally producing!  Ok, so my "garden" only consists of peas and cucumbers.  Slugs and squirrels decimated everything else.  Given my shortage of space and limited time, my garden was reduced to elongated flower pots on my patio.  Just when I thought the 100 degree plus weather we had been having sounded the death knell for my cucumbers, a refreshing four-plus days of rain reinvigorated them and two are coming along quite nicely.  My peas are producing too.  It took them long enough.  The kids were excited, more so about the cucumbers than the peas.

Cucumbers are actually considered fruit biologically as well as peas.  It's something about them containing seeds which classifies them as being fruit.  This was a completely random and irrelevant factoid that concludes my ventures into gardening and tenth grade biology class for today :-).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Completed Projects


Red, yellow, black and green will abound among my projects.  I finished a crochet bag over a week ago using the pink ribbed pattern with these colors.  It is an eye catcher...I'm just debating on how long the strap should be.

I have been very busy making earrings this week.  My 3 main series have been my focus: the soft elegance, divinity, and queens.  I've made quite a few Mocha Queens and Red Queens and a host of soft elegance.  I'm debating how I feel about the Divinity series.  I need more feedback than my children's enthusiastic "I like it!" proclamations.

 I love the Red Divinity.  The beads are made from polymer clay that has been painted and glazed in red, copper, and gold tones.  This pair is very similar to the Red Queen earrings.  The face beads are signature in most of my crochet earrings pieces.  I'm seeing this series in a variety of colors and I'll more than likely stick with neutral tones for the center bead.  I am torn with the Blue Divinity.  I love the blue beads with their silver highlights combined with the royal blue and black.  I was aiming for something different and this does indeed fit the bill.  Paired with the right look, these have great potential.

My next piece in the Divinity series would be a pink and chocolate variation.

I've seen earrings similar to these online and wanted to try a pair for myself.  I had been wondering for the longest what to do with the beautiful turquoise crochet thread I had and this venture cried out for it.  I love the way they came out and can definitely see a pair in pink.

Soft Elegance in a beautiful yellow hue.  I can see these paired with a short and flirty summer dress and light sandals.  I've been contemplating color combinations for the soft elegance but will probably keep it at solid colors with bead embellishments.

These earrings are unique and an eye-catcher.  I made them some time ago and they always draw curious looks and laughs whenever I set up.  They were formerly keyrings that I remade into earrings.

I love the face pendants and beads, especially this set I made some time ago.  It resembles stone with soft gradations and I mistakenly glazed them...they were better unglazed.  It is a beautiful set.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Artfire Finds!


While perusing artfire (so much easier to find what I want there than etsy), I came across some fabulous finds!  (All images are copyrighted to their creators/owners who are linked below).

 Isn't this beautiful!  I love delicate and intricate crochet work and this piece has the best of both worlds.  This is from Julee H. Lee on Artfire and she follows no pattern or design in particular which only adds to her beautiful work!  She does custom pieces also.  Her work is my present inspiration!

 THere is nothing like nice, light crochet work!  The pattern is available here by lprjogo on artfire!  I'm simply amazed she has not made more sales from her beautiful patterns.  This one has caught my fancy in particularly.  Not only is the style (the empire waist and spring color) flattering and it is lightweight and very flirty.

This is beyond cute!  This little bag was created by Lanee's Crochet and although the pattern is familiar, the colors make this little bag really stand out!  The flower is detachable and I can see it being added as an addition to a headband also.

You rarely see crochet earrings that are not in the common "round" shape.  I am guilty of this also...but who doesn't love hoops?  Well Lanee's Crochet has responded with a vehement "NO!" to this common trend with these beautiful triangle crochet earrings!  I am duly impressed.  I had been trying to think of other alternatives for the longest even as far as bending my own wire.  Very impressive to say the least!

 I have a love-hate relationship with wire crochet.  I love the look and hate that I can't do it!  My attempts at crocheting wire have resulted in minute cuts, poked fingers and sad, awkwardly bent 24 - 28 gauge wire. Obviously Cat's Wire on artfire has gotten it right!  This piece caught my attention right away.  She combines a delicate and intricate silver wire crocheted around a beautiful fossilized coral.  I find this piece to be simply phenomenal and reminds me of the most beautiful artwork you could ever find:  those works created by nature.

What I love about polymer clay is its versatility.  This is beyond play dough folks.  Polymer clay can mimic stone and create some fantastic jewelry pieces (making it a new fav for hobbyists) and HobbyTimeDesign has definitely made a positive impression with her beautiful works!  She incorporates a mica shift technique in the piece to the left which is just beautiful paired with that frog (I love frogs by the way).  Click here to see more of this crafter's beautiful work!

Well I am bidding artfire adieu for now!  I am a member of a variety of sites and will update now and then on the beautiful work I find on them.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Crochet Work from the Previous Week


I am pleased to say that I am getting much quicker with my crocheting these days.  I completed the tote in a day and a half...the previous one took me the better part of a week.  I got a lot done last week and wanted to post my progress.  The crafty feast is coming up in less than a month so I will be a crocheting mad-woman the next four weeks!

Realistically I am probably not going to have as much inventory for the Crafty Feast as I would have demand so I decided to take pictures of my completed work to have on display to take orders during the event.

So here is what I did.  I started on a crochet tank top from The Happy Hooker on Friday night and finished on Saturday afternoon.  I used Bernat Satin sportweight yarn in Taupe which is beautiful. I loved the results and am going to change the pattern in the back to button it down fully in the back.  I started the tote on Wednesday evening and finished Thursday night (although I did the handles on Friday morning).  Of course there is the purselet I have posted about previously.  I am going to start on another purselet today and anticipate having it completed by this evening.
Here is the tote. I made up the pattern as I went along.  I frogged a square bag I had made over the Memorial Day weekend to make this tote.  I wasn't happy with the square bag even if it did take the better part of a week to make.  I like this bag a lot more and would make a great grocery tote (go green!).
Next week is strictly earring week.  I have to make up a lot of inventory and I will post my process.  I have a new series I'm calling Divinity and will be sure to post them :-).

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Purse completed


I completed the purse pattern from the previous post last night and am presently working (and almost finished) on a tote.  Pictures of that are coming later but it is a complete freelance project that I have come up with to jazz up (and consequently aggravate myself in the process) my crochet work.

Anywho this is what I did.  First I changed the stitch.  It is written in single crochet so I switched it over to one of my favorite stitches, the herringbone half double crochet.  The edging is still done in single crochet.  This bag only measures nine inches wide at the bottom versus the original pattern's 14 inches.  I wanted some mini bamboo handles; however, being without my wants, I improvise as always.  I had some white sculpey  that I tinted with some caramel colored alcohol inks and rolled into circles and baked.  I made a small strap...I couldn't imagine this bag with a large strap.  Now the only thing left is the decoration.  Flower or polymer clay creation?  I am rather pleased with this mini purse and may make another one.

Okay now back to my tote.  I am recreating the tote from the previous post.  I am alternating the colors and attempting to put the map of Africa into the design.  Changing yarn keeps me interested but I have to admit it is quite a task.  I started it last night and I anticipate being finished by morning.  The last tote took me over a week to complete so this is definitely an improvement.  I will post pictures of my progress probably tomorrow.