About two years ago, I ordered a Dasiychain Sampler kit from Alicia Paulson (before you ask, it’s no longer available as a kit but you can buy the printed fabric, wool and needles on here site). I opened it, all excited, and promptly set it aside before I even began. I’m not sure exactly why, but the idea how time consuming it would be overwhelmed me.
A few weeks ago we did an exercise at work which involved watching an excerpt of a class, and it was an embroidery excerpt. It was fun, relaxing, and easy to do. I remembered my kit, and started it that weekend (June 1st). I’ve been stitching like mad ever since, with NBA playoffs and The Wire to entertain me. I made the last stitch on the last letter, V, Sunday night. All in all, it probably took about 30 hours– still kind of overwhelming, to think of all at once, but each letter felt like a victory, a completion of sorts.
I really enjoyed working on this kit. One big plus was that I didn’t have to make any decisions. I make a lot of decisions in my everyday life and you know what? I don’t need to design everything. It’s nice to just *make* too. I enjoyed this so much that I’m on the lookout for more fun crewel kits (though they seem few and far between– please point me in the right direction!). I also want to get back into some of the other crafts that fell by the wayside over the last couple of years, like sewing and quilting. Of course, that requires cleaning the craft room, so I’ll probably stick to the yarn crafts for now. I’ve been itching to crochet, even though it is crazy hot outside.
The next step is to frame it– you can already see above what a big difference pressing made. I’ll press again and use Alicia’s framing tutorial. But you know how it goes– it can take me 2 weeks to “finish” a project and another 2 years to actually finish it!
For those of you still reading, I’ll be at TNNA this weekend in the Craftsy booth. Come say hi, I’m looking forward to reuniting with all of my yarny friends!
I’m happy to announce the release of my latest crochet pattern, Craspedia Cropped Cardigan. Made from springy sock yarn, it’s the perfect light weight cardigan for summer breezes and air conditioning. I’m one of those people that doesn’t love to show my upper arms, so this design comes with full coverage sleeves that have a slight poof on the top for fun.
Craspedia is made in five pieces from the bottom up, which are then seamed and edged. The pieces are quick to work and easy to transport, plus they allow for detailed (but not complicated) shaping that hugs your body in all the right places. I love the drape and color that sock yarn gives, but I also think one made with a nice cotton would be lovely. The pattern comes in five sizes for 34.5 (39.5, 43.5, 47.5, 51.5)” bust circumference.
I’ve been sitting on this pattern for quite a while, waiting to get it right (thanks to the help of my tech editor, KJ Hay). It’s available on Ravlery and Craftsy for $6.50. I’m happy to send it out into the world and hope to see your versions soon!
I have two exciting things to tell you about this week.
(photo courtesy of the Yarnover Truck)
First off, for those of you in the Los Angeles, California area– this weekend is your friendly local yarn crawl! If you’ve never been on a yarn crawl, they are so much fun! You hop from shop to shop, stamping your passport (and um, emptying your wallet building your stash) as you go! And if you happen to be in LA and on this particular yarn crawl, be sure to stop by the Yarnover Truck!
(photo courtesy of the Yarnover Truck)
The awesome ladies who own it are hosting a trunk show of my patterns, so you can see them in person. You can buy my patterns directly from the truck and they’ll hook you up with great yarns to use, too! I sure hope I get to visit the Yarnover Truck myself one day, it is such a fun idea. Be sure to check their Yarn Crawl Page to see where they’ll be each day. If you do go, please snap a pic and send it to me, I’d love to see it!
Another place that’s now selling my patterns is Webs (yarn.com). Even better, to kick it off they are doing a crochet-along of my Sugar Sparkles Shawlette. The crochet-along includes some great videos that will help you learn some of the techniques needed to complete the shawl, including choosing and working with beads. Be sure to check it out and then add your photos to Ravelry so we can all see.
Here are direct links to Week 1 and Week 2. And don’t worry, you can work at your own pace, so you’re not behind!
Two weeks ago, Paul and I got married (finally)! It was a wonderful, small ceremony & it was the day full of love that everyone said it would be. To keep it manageable and meaningful, we limited our guest list to about 50 people and did a lot of DIYing with the help of our wonderful families.
(Almost all photos in this post (C) Sleeping Owl Photography)
We got married at my Aunt Beryl+ Uncle Dean’s property in Round Mountain, TX, which overlooks the Pedernales River. It was an amazing view and we are still pinching ourselves that we got to have such a nice setting. I also think it’s pretty awesome that we’ll see this setting again and again over the years and remind ourselves of the vows we took.
I made my veil using Craftsy’s Vintage Veils class, some etsy and random craft store finds, and silk thread that my grandmother gave me years ago. I also altered my dress about 3 days before the wedding, using info that I’m sure I gleaned from all of the conversations I had with Angela Wolf while producing her Tailoring Ready-to-Wear class.
I crocheted my shrug using the Piped Petals Cardigan pattern I designed and Fiberspaytes Scrumptious (just over 2 skeins). I ordered the yarn from Craftsy early on, thinking it was white-ish laceweight, and it came in the color you see here– so I was disappointed. But, then I found my dress and the yarn was a perfect match! It all worked out wonderfully. I got to use some special buttons that I found at a Stitches show and cover my shoulders from the Texas sun, it was a win-win.
My other favorite special touch was our “Ring Pillow”. We actually just used a ball of roving with a crochet hook to secure the rings, and it was perfect. I had been working on a crocheted pillow and I think it was Paul’s idea to just use the yarn instead. I figure one day I’ll spin this roving into yarn and make something meaningful with it, and I like that symbolism. Plus, I’ve never seen it done before. Bonus, the blue looks great with my sweet nephew’s glasses.
In addition to letting us borrow their awesome space, Beryl and Dean catered the whole thing. Amazing! And– Beryl, an ex-bakery owner, made this awesome, super tasty cake for us– with the crochet hook representing yours truly and the paintbrush and pencil for Paul. It was all her own idea! We couldn’t have asked for anything better, she did a great job. (There was also a grooms cake featuring chocolate ganache, peanut butter and YUM. Paul is still missing it) .
There were lots of other little details to the day, you can see a full sneak peak on our photographer’s blog HERE. Above- the last but not least thing I couldn’t resist sharing- a card box made by Paul’s mom, Elizabeth. Her embroidery blows me away, and I want to frame the box top to preserve it.
We are so grateful for all of the ways everyone chipped in so we could have a really memorable day. If you are planning a wedding anytime soon, here’s my unsolicited advice to you: Do what you want and don’t worry about what other people say (even people you really trust who have your best interest in mind) and remember that it’s all about the feeling you create, not the stuff/details, okay? XOXO!
Reminder: Photos in this post (C) Sleeping Owl Photography. Do not post, publish, print, etc without express written permission of the photographer. Thanks!
Recently I had a dream opportunity to create some custom yarn colors with Craftsy and Cascade. They are finally here and now I can share!
I chose Cascade Ultra Alpaca, a super soft and drapey yarn that’s squishy and warm. The colors were really tough to choose– Cascade already has soooo many! So I decided to pick an inspiration point of root vegetables and these three colors were born: Sweet Potato (orange), Blue Potato (purple), and Red Onion (maroon)! Each comes in a generous 220 yard skein and they are available exclusively at Craftsy (just follow the links!).
The best part? When you buy a skein of any color, you get my LoHi Hat pattern PDF for free! I named it after the neighborhood where our offices are located, and designed it specifically for the yarn, of course. It’s satisfying because it uses nearly the entire skein. Even though the yarn is technically a worsted weight, it drapes like a sport weight and doesn’t feel bulky at all.
The pattern is written for four sizes, for toddlers, children, adults, and…..watermelon head adults (you know who you are). You can add a flower or pom-pom with the remaining yarn (speaking for the adult hat and smaller sizes). What I love is that it’s lacy, yet warm, and squishy from all of the puff stitches. It’s been a hit around the office so I hope you like it too! If you have enough stash, you could also just buy the pattern, but what’s the fun in that?. Besides, at the time of this post, the yarn is such a steal, so go check it out. I’d love to see what you come up with on Craftsy and Ravelry!
This weekend, it suddenly became very important that I knit a hat for Paul. I’ve been saying I would do it for a long time and just never quite got there. I’ve been trying to strike a work/life balance lately–or more like a work/craft balance, and we’ve both been sick and miserable, so it was the perfect opportunity to stay inside.
I started this hat using Valley Yarns Greenwich and Knitpicks Chroma from my stash. I removed the girly colors from this colorway but Paul still thought it was a bit too girly, so, oh darn, it became mine.
I left it kind of slouchy at the top and it’s finished now, but you get the idea. I also took this opportunity to test out my Kollage square needles– and let me tell you, I think these may have changed knitting for me. I really, really liked using them and my gauge wasn’t so stinkin’ loose on them either, meaning I didn’t have to go down a zillion sizes. I’ve already ordered a few more pairs- I love that they are metal, which equals quick, but square, which equals steady. Love. Them.
Once I realized this wasn’t going to be Paul’s hat after all, I got started on #2, which I broke my yarn fasting rule for. I bought some Studio Donegal Tweed at Fancy Tiger and followed pretty much the same gist of the previous pattern, but no stripes this time, since it has the wonderful flecking. Between you and me, all those little flecks of yellow, purple and teal might be considered girly, too, but if I end up with 2 new hats, I won’t mind. I’m using needles I had on hand for these, and going with the magic loop technique, which is about the easiest thing ever and you’d think I might never use short circulars again. But no, actually, for sheer laziness I still prefer a 16″ needle when I can find it. And I can’t wait for my Kollage needles to come, they’ll probably get here before I finish this hat because it is that slow going when I’m not using them. I swear this is not an advertisement, I’m just passionate about finding good tools–and of course everyone has their different preferences.
You can see in the photos above that Freddie fastidiously supervised all knitting excursions. I think he may be begging for a sweater from the leftovers, don’t you? He is a loyal companion.
While you’re here, click on over to Alice Merlino (aka Futuregirl)’s blog and check out her review of my E-book, Sugar and Spice. She has nice things to say, she is too good to me. Lots of projects are starting to pop up on Ravelry now and I just love seeing them. This Sugar Sparkles Shawlette is a particular favorite, and what a fun color for the Pizzelle Beret! See them all right here. If you’ve made a project from the book, please love yours– I love to see them!
Craftsy is having a Valentine’s Day Sale! Not only can you get my crochet classes (check out all the cute projects!), you can also check out all of the awesomeness we’ve been working hard to produce. I’ve met so many awesome instructors and I think you’ll not only learn, but enjoy watching these classes and interacting with these wonderful ladies. Enjoy!
When I first started going to my local yarn shop (in Montana) one of the yarns I was immediately drawn to was Noro. The colors are simply amazing, and as a designer, I’ve always loved it for it’s LONG repeat. Variegated yarns often alternate colors too quickly for crochet, and so do many “self striping” yarns designed for knitting. But that’s not the case with Noro and that’s why I’ve always loved using it in my designs. When I found out that Sixth & Spring was publishing a Crochet Noro (to follow up to their Knit Noro books) I was excited!
My two contributions are both really simple to make, and ideas I’ve made or bopped around in my head for a long time. The beauty of this yarn is that it does not need a complex pattern. I repeat: you can do some fancy footwork, but there’s no point, because everyone’s going to be staring at the color. And don’t we all know how nice it is to have a pattern that doesn’t make us think? I am enjoying that more and more these days.
This Floral Necklace was born out of the nametag holder I made for my name badge when I worked at Yarnivore. I whipped it up one day while it was relatively quiet and continuously got asked how to make it, so I figured this would be a nice + easy design to submit- and it was. We added beads to the centers and used Taiyo sock to make it delicate–but I still think you could work it in a heavier yarn if you wanted fewer strands.
I also crocheted this lovely Bobbled Hat. It is worked from the top down in the round–pretty simply–and just takes advantage of the jelly bean like colors of a couple skeins of Noro Silk Garden (DK Weight). You have to block this to get it to drape, and drape it will. I’m so happy that there are so many blends of Noro now, because I definitely prefer the feel and weight of Silk Garden to the first ball of Kureyon I ever pickedup. I still intend to make this one again–it practically crochets itself as you say “just one more row to see how the colors go….”
There are tons of other lovely designs, including a couple totally wearable basic cardigans worked in the round and fun tunics and shells–plus, lots of quick accessories, all lushly photographed as is the Sixth & Spring way. Pick up a copy and get inspired the next time you’re at your LYS, or right here.
Photography by Rose Callahan copyright © by Sixth&Spring Books/Knitting Fever, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Disclaimer: All book links are affiliate Amazon. links.
I feel like we’re finally starting to settle in here, and I’ve even had some time to make “just for fun” stuff–wahoo! It’s hard to say no to design work but the reality is that I don’t have a ton of time for it and it’s really nice to just take the time to make something for me! Here are some of the things I have been working on.
I’m nearly finished crocheting Piped Petals Cardigan #2, The Wedding Shrug Version. This is made with the pattern from my Sugar and Spice E-book and 2.1 skeins of Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply yarn. I literally had 2 rows on the button band and 10 rows total of sleeve edging to work when I had to break into the third skein, so if you’re my size (around 40″ bust) then 850 yards will get you a short shrug (I just crocheted fewer rows to get this length, since it’s a top-down piece). I have some excellent buttons for this, which I guiltily purchased at Stitches Midwest. See, sometimes I *do* use stuff from my stash! I’m almost done with this one but what do you want to bet it takes me weeks to get those last few rows done, ends woven, and blocked?
I also spent a couple weekends drafting and sewing my own A-line skirt pattern with the help of Craftsy’s “Design and Sew and A-line Skirt” class, plus all of the sewing skills I’ve learned through osmosis while filming classes. We have an exciting class about fit coming up, and I used what I learned there to make 2- count ‘em- 2 muslins of this skirt before cutting into this luscious velveteen fabric. I went above and beyond and added a lining, and I think I spent at least a few hours sitting there being scared to sew it all together. All in all it looks pretty decent (I’ll almost always wear it with a shirt untucked), despite this crummy instagram photo, filtered to high heaven to protect your eyes from my “winter legs”. I might look like a highlighter when I wear this but I like it!
Also in sewing, I made some more quick and super-easy applique items for my nephew’s gift. Don’t worry, I also got him a fun gift– but I made him a “T” shirt a few years ago and he still wears it, and everyone always compliments it, so I knew I wanted to make more. It has taken me a shamefully long time to getting around to making these- I actually had one of the shirts in my bin that I intended to make him for LAST xmas. At least I bought a size too large, so hopefully it will fit him this year. I used a grand total of 2 charm squares and a touch of heat’n'bond light to whip out these two. This photo was snapped before the final sewing around the edge, but you get the idea.
Last but not least, I spent last weekend crocheting some tiny simple flowers for a hair ornament to wear to our holiday party at work. I saw some similar ones made of felt at a craft fair but I wanted to make my own. Turns out I have more yarn than felt, but you knew that already, right? I used some plastic rhinestone-type gems that I got in New York, oh, 11 years ago, when someone was giving away much of their stash on Craigslist. I learned to crochet with yarn from that same stash. And I’ve moved those gems at least 4 times, but see, I do use the stash! If you’re wondering how to make these little flowers, I have a pattern with similar (bigger!) flowers coming out in a book sooner or later. Stay tuned.
What crafts are you working on right now? Are you making holiday gifts? Let me know in the comments.
Sorry to have pretty much fallen off of blogland lately, we’ve been busy planning for the wedding and for going home for the holidays (YAY!). In the meantime, lots of projects have been published, so here I am to share. Brett Bara put together a fun compilation of accessory projects for her latest book with Interweave, Clever Crocheted Accessories: 25 Quick Weekend Projects.
She asked me to do some fingerless gloves, and I knew I wanted to work in Madelinetosh, because, well, it’s Madelinetosh. I love, love, love cables and sock yarn and combined them to make these Cabled Mitts (ravelry page here).
I remember I was working on these while waiting for my sister at the local college and an avid crocheter came up to me and remarked that she didn’t even know you could do that in crochet. You can! These are simple to make, because there’s no shaping, so you’re pretty much making an intricate rectangle that’s reversible from hand to hand. I made a second pair of these for myself, but I did a ribbed cuff instead of carrying the cable all the way up, and that’s pretty easy to do, too. I find cables to be so addictive, I guess I like changing things up every few stitches.
The second scarf is an example of what a simple stitch and a luscious yarn can do. The Knotty Herringbone Scarf (Ravelry link) is made from Malabrigo Twist, a super soft and squishy merino wool. I’ve been wearing this one around Colorado–because we live her now and I can wear warm scarves!– and I get so many compliments, probably because of the fun color. The knotwork adds another interesting detail, and it’s not very hard to do. If you are feeling fancy you can throw some beads in the fringe for extra fun.
The book is full of beautiful and quick designs to make by designers you love, like Robyn Chachula, Ellen Gormley, Marly Bird and more –and you can even download it for instant gratification or quick-start gift making. Be sure to check it out!