Sunday, December 30, 2018

Wild Birds of Paradise Silk Scarf

This was a really quick little project.  I started it on Christmas Day, while waiting for all the rest of the family to arrive at my Mother in Law's house, and finished it last night.  The pattern is the Naturally Southern Scarf, and the yarn is Darn Good Yarn's DK weight silk, in Wild Birds of Paradise.  I had received a skein of it in their yarn subscription box, and loved it so much that I knew I wanted to make something larger with it.  When I checked my account, I had enough points saved up to get a $25 gift card, plus the lovely curiousfae sent me a $10 credit from them that she wasn't able to use, so I paid next to nothing for it.  I love the deep raspberry, teal and turquoise, and how they are offset by the bright cheerful yellow.  Also the silks used in their yarns are waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill, but DGY rescues them, and then provides fair wages to women in India & Nepal, allowing them to work from home and support their families. 

Saturday, December 22, 2018

13th Doctor's New Year's Scarf

Like many Doctor Who fans, as soon as I saw the promo shots of 13th Doctor Jodie Whittaker in the upcoming New Year's special, I fell in love with her rainbow scarf.  Not long after the promo pictures were released, someone of course came up with a crochet pattern for one. 

I had many of the colors needed in Caron Simply Soft, so after a quick trip to pick up the rest, I sat down last weekend to make myself one!  The pattern was designed by Mel Harrison over at Mahogany Turtle and is free on her blog.   For a full list of every one of the 17 colors of yarn I used, check my Ravelry page.

It stitches up really fast, and is easy to adapt, based on what you have on hand.  I absolutely love how it came out, but of course, as soon as it was done, I became aware of a friend who has a greater need for a rainbow in their life right now, so I just packed it up and shipped it off to him.  It'll arrive a few days after Christmas, but he'll have it in time for New Year's, and hopefully it will keep him warm and protected during the cold winter months in NYC.   Josh has always been a bit of a Guardian Angel to his friends and family, stepping up whenever someone has needed help.  He's the ultimate Gryffindor, chivalrous and selfless in his efforts to help anyone who needs it, always ready with a kind word when you need it most.  I hope this little rainbow will keep him safe as he goes about changing the world for the better.  I guess I'll just have to make myself another one as soon as I get back from Christmas with my in-laws.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Ravenclaw Scarf Ornament - With Pattern

I recently had the pleasure of swapping with lindyv321 in the Harry Potter Holiday swap.  She's a Ravenclaw, and I decided to create a tiny Ravenclaw House scarf for her.  I looked around for patterns, but didn't like the sizes of the ones I could find, or I didn't have the right sized yarn, so I just made up my own based on what I had on hand.  I've included the pattern below in case anyone else wants to make one for themselves.

Ravenclaw House Scarf Ornament

You will need:
Sport Weight cotton yarn in your choice of colors (I used Omega Sinfonia)
3.25 mm crochet hook
needle to weave in yarn ends

Row 1: With Blue, chain 7, sc in 2nd ch from hook. Sc in next 5 across. (6 sc)
Row 2-4: hdc across (6 hdc)
Row 5: Change to bronze, hdc across (6 hdc).
Row 6: Change to blue, hdc across (6 hdc).
Row 7: Change to bronze, hdc across (6 hdc).
Row 8-41: Change to blue, hdc across (6 hdc).
Row 42: Change to bronze, hdc across (6 hdc).
Row 43: Change to blue, hdc across (6 hdc).
Row 44: Change to bronze, hdc across (6 hdc).
Row 45-47: Change to blue, hdc across (6 hdc).
Row 48: sc across ( 6sc).

Finish off, weave in ends.

Fold scarf around, and make 2 tacking stitches with some spare blue yarn, to keep it in a folded shape. Cut 2 strands of yarn 14” long, and string them through the top of the ornament. Tie a knot, then slip on a glass pony bead, and tie a second knot. Leave a gap for a hook, then tie another knot, add a second bead, and tie a final knot before trimming off the extra yarn.

***Note: For my scarf ornament, I used the sport weight yarn for the blue body of the scarf, but for the contrasting bronze stripes I used 2 strands of Lion Brand Bonbons sparkle, held together.  In my case I used brown & copper to get my bronze color.  The Bonbons are a very fine/light weight yarn that was much thinner than the sport weight, but was just about equal when using 2 strands at once.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

14 Scrap Busting Dishcloths in 12 Days

My parents came to visit for 8 days last week.  Since I was trying to keep the house neat and clean with guests, I decided to crochet something tiny, that wouldn't be in the way, and would hopefully help me use up some yarn.  Answer: dishcloths! 

I managed to make 14 of them in 12 days, and hope to get 2 more done tonight.  Bonus, they make great stocking stuffers and gift basket fillers. They were all made from the Fire Blossom Dishcloth pattern, which is free on Ravelry.

A few super-scrappy ones, that were made up with the tail ends of various yarns that were all in a zip loc bag.  My dad claimed most of these.  I missed getting a pic of my favorite green & blue one before my mom made off with it.

A few more matchy-matchy pairs, made from bigger half-skeins.  These will go to a few neighbors & friends.

A set for my mom, made to match a vintage tea towel I bought her.  This was one of my more 'matchy-matchy' scrap sets.  I've made her dishcloths before, but she's never used them until she came to visit last week, and discovered there are no scrubby sponges in my house, just a drawer full of handmade dishcloths.  After 2 days she declared she loved them and wanted some for herself.  Good thing these were already under the tree.

And a rainbow set for my MIL, to go with a vintage linen towel I bought her.  Best part, I basically emptied my entire cotton yarn drawer!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Autumn Kaleidoscope Shawl

I have been trying to stash bust in an effort to keep my studio neat and tidy, and to avoid accumulating too much yarn.  The pattern is the Kaleidoscope Shawl, and it's free on Red Heart's website.  When I saw this simple pattern, I knew it would be great with the skeins of Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable that I bought on clearance a few months back.  It's basically 5 rows of granny, then 5 rows of 'every other' double crochet net, with a picot shell border.  It works up really quick and easy, and I love how it shows off the colors in the yarn.  I think it's going to my lovely sister in law.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Haunted Mansion Grapghghan

I tackled a great big scary new realm in the world of crochet.  (Well, scary for me.)  I created my first graphghan!  It is a gift for a friend who just got married.  Neither her, nor her husband, wanted to keep their own names when they married, but neither liked the other's last name either, so the decided to pick a new one together.  They are both Disney fanatics, and love the Haunted Mansion, so they chose to use the name of the fictional owner, Mr. Gracey.  Clearly they needed something both cozy, and a little bit macabre for their very own Gracey home, so I chose to use a portion of the wallpaper in the Haunted Mansion as my inspiration.

I created the graph in Stitchfiddle.  It is 175 single crochet stitches across in each row, and was 188 rows tall.  (The graph was really 185, but included 3 empty space rows at the top, but none bottom, so I added 3 black rows down there.)  I felt like the graph looked fine when I printed it out, but once I got working on it I discovered bits where I felt the colors should change to create a more graceful curve, or even off a line, so I altered it a bit as I went, using black and silver sharpies to alter the graph, so it is not identical to the graph you see below. Once I completed the graph, I realized I needed some sort of gothic lace border, so I used this pattern on The Spruce Crafts, V-Stitch & Picot Border.

The body of the graphghan was done with Red Heart Super Saver in black and orchid.  It took 2 Jumbo skeins of orchid and 1 Jumbo skein of black.  I had just a bit of each leftover.  Rather than go out and buy more of it for the border, I used some Vanna's Choice in black to do that part.  I don't think you can tell that they are two different black acrylics in it.  They eyes are Caron Simply Soft in Cream that I had in my stash.

 I'm thrilled with how it came out, but I'm also quite glad to see the back of the project!  It took me a lot longer than I thought it would, about 8 weeks.  I haven't measured it, but it is about 42" wide x 50" tall.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Strawberry Hooker's Helper Necklace

My dear friend, the uber-talented Embroiderer Extraordinaire kittykill is learning to crochet.  Since I was already crafting her some strawberry goodies, I couldn't help but want to send her some fun tools to use as she learns to hook, so I whipped up a Hooker's Helper necklace for her.  The pendant at the bottom is a thread/yarn cutter.  The charms are stitch markers that can be removed to use in a project, and stored back on the necklace when done.  There are 4 little enamel strawberries, 2 green enamel stars, and 4 beads to help her keep track of her work. 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Strawberry Blossom Bracelet

After making the strawberry kitchen items, I moved away from crochet.  I knew I wanted to find a way to use some of the beautiful lampwork glass strawberry beads in my stash.  As I searched the web for inspiration pictures of strawberries, I decided I'd like to add some blossoms too, so I found some lucite flowers and bright green lucite leaves.

The bracelet chain is sterling, and the findings are sterling-filled.  The beads are a mix of handmade lampwork berries, Czech glass, and Swarovski crystal.  The whole piece was a joy to make. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Evil Eye Rearview Mirror Charm

Put this together for dear kittykill, as an extra in a swap recently.  A rear view mirror charm to protect her in her travels.  I've had the big square glass pendant for ages, just waiting for the right project.  The tassel came with the beaded eye band.  I think I found that on clearance somewhere a few months ago.  The glass eye bead was also stash.

Strawberry Kitchen Accessories

I recently organized a "Life is Berry Sweet" Swap, themed around cheerful little strawberries.  I had the good fortune to be crafting for the lovely kittykill.  I know she has a red & yellow kitchen, and an overall 'Granny-Chic' design concept, so I decided to make her some granny inspired goodies.

I fell in love with an adorable potholder I saw on Ravelry, but the pattern was only available in a book that's out of print, so I decided to try to figure it out myself.

I started by looking on Youtube for a video showing how to make a mitered corner square.  For mine I started with a chain of 52, then followed the video instructions, alternating colors every 2 rows.  I made two of these squares, and then used the red yarn to hook them together along the edges to make it two layers thick.  I added a basic shell border in red, along with a loop at the top, and found a pattern for a strawberry applique

I liked the alternating stripes of white and green potholder so much that even though I planned to make some strawberry dishcloths (below), I decided to make a striped one too.  I was partially afraid that kittykill might want to display her goodies, rather than use them, so I figured a spare dishcloth to actually use wouldn't go amiss.  The pattern is one of my all time favorites, as it makes nice sturdy, but still pretty, dishcloths.  It's available as a free Ravelry download.  Fire Blossom Dishcloth.

I knew I would be making at least a few of these Granny Strawberry Dishcloths, before I started on the potholder.  I made them earlier this summer for some friends, and just loved how they came out.  The Granny triangle is a quick & easy pattern, but the stems can be a little confusing as you read the written pattern.  I just used a pen & paper to sketch out what the directions were saying badly, and then winged it. 

Finally I wanted to add a few more bits and bobs to the kitchen set.  I thought a set of coasters might be fun, so I tried starting with a set based on a variation on a granny square, but I disliked how it was coming out.  It didn't seem like it would make a good size coaster, and the bubble stitch used made it too bumpy to hold a drink on top of. 


So I ended up taking the coaster I started and turned it into a trivet instead.  I figured with a larger item like a pan, the slightly lumpy center wouldn't be as much of a problem as it would with a narrower glass.  I just added a few granny rows and a border with some picot stitches in the corners.


Since the square coaster idea didn't work, I decided to try a round variation on the Granny theme, and went with this pattern, intended for Christmas ornaments, and added a round of slip stitching on the backside, to give it a slightly raised edge.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Black Bean & Caramelized Onion Tacos

This recipe is easy, fast, and doesn't heat up the kitchen too much in the dead of summer.  Mostly chopping and stirring, with just a bit of time in a skillet.  Happy (and healthy) Taco Tuesday!

Black Bean & Caramelized Onion Tacos with Lime Marinated Zucchini

1  can black beans
1  large sweet onion
6  flour tortillas
1 Tbsp taco seasoning (or a mix of chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cilantro, & Mexican oregano)
1  lime
1  zucchini
1 Tbsp  light brown sugar
2 oz  aged sharp cheddar cheese (or vegan cheese substitute of choice)
¼ cup vegan sour cream substitute (or real sour cream if you want)
1 avocado
olive oil
salt & pepper

Start by remembering that today is Monday, aka your husband's D&D night, and that you need to have made [i]& finished eating[/i] dinner by 6:00 pm, so he can go slay demigorgons or something.  Decide that vegetarian tacos are the way to go, and pull out the ingredients.  Realize that you're going to need some help to get this done on time, and put on some James Brown to help get you moving.  I recommend "Get Up Offa That Thing". 

Prep the ingredients:  Zest the lime, then slice in half.  Quarter the onion, then slice about 1/4" thick.  Halve the zucchini lengthwise; then cut into thin half moons.  Grate the aged cheddar cheese on the large side of a box grater.  Drain and rinse the black beans.

Start the filling:  In a nonstick skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium.  Add the sliced onion and season with salt & pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 3-4 minutes.  Lower the heat to low, add the light brown sugar and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until golden and soft. 

While the onions caramelize, place the zucchini in a bowl with a light drizzle with olive oil, the juice of half the lime, and season lightly with salt & pepper.  Stir every few minutes, while getting on with the rest of your taco goodness.  You are the queen of multi-tasking. 

Realize that your James Brown song has ended, and ask Alexa to play you Brick House by the Commodores.  Heck yeah, you are kicking tonight's butt!

Go back to the skillet of onions, and add the beans, 1/2 cup of water, and the taco seasoning. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally and mashing the beans lightly with the back of a spoon, 7 to 9 minutes, or until thickened and the beans have slightly broken down. Turn off the heat; season with salt & pepper to taste.

While the beans cook, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream substitute, lime zest, the juice of the other lime half, 1 Tbsp of olive oil, and season with salt & pepper to taste. 

Wrap the tortillas in dampened paper towels and warm in the microwave for 15-30 seconds.  Or warm them in another skillet if you dislike microwaves.  But I for one, ain't got time for warming individual tortillas or washing extra pans!  [i]The crafts, the crafts are calling....[/i]  Finally, slice the avocado at the last minute, because you almost forgot about it.

Assemble the tacos: place a schmear of the lime cream on the bottom of each tortilla, then a scoop of the the black bean & onion filling, tuck the avocado slices along the sides, and top with the shredded aged cheddar. Serve with the marinated zucchini on the side.  Watch your meat-eating Midwestern husband happily destroy his veggie tacos, and know you are victorious.  Wish him luck in his D&D game, while not seeming like you are shoeing him out of the living room so you can crochet & Netflix with your puppy. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Scrappy Shawls for Alice's Embrace

The awesome ladies of the Crochet Shawl-Along have inspired me to stash bust out a few scrappy shawls from my bits and bobs of Lion Brand Homespun.  The pattern is the Yarrow Triangle Scarf.  These two will go to a charity called [url=]Alice's Embrace[/url], that provides shawls and lap blankets for Alzheimer's patients.  Bonus: Now I have an entire yarn drawer free!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Celtic Tree of Life Sun Catcher

Recently I had the good fortune to be partnered with Wulf in the Use the Good Beads Swap.  My initial idea was to make him a Tree of Life art quilt, but after some discussion, Wulf revealed he didn't actually have any wall space for hanging one, but suggested that he did need a table mat for his dining room.  So I went off on that adventure.  But there was also a throwaway comment he made, about not wearing jewelry, which is one of my favorite crafts to make, and it stuck in the back of my head.  How could I, a jewelry maker, make him some sort of jewelry for his HOME, rather than for him personally?
This started to ferment in my brain, spiced with a bit of the previous desire to make something with the tree of life, and resulted in the idea to make him a sun catcher for his dining room window.  The tree was created with artists jewelry wire in light gold, bronze, & copper, with silver wire used to fill the dead space between the branches and roots.  Hanging amid the branches is a Swarovski crystal crescent moon.  Above and below the tree are emerald green Czech glass rose beads, and at the bottom is a Asfour crystal pendant.

I thought this would be a quick last-minute addition to the swap package, but it actually took much longer than I planned.  The wire I used was made of two strands of wire twisted together, resulting in thicker wire, that was a bit harder on my fingertips as I twisted it around the metal ring, and twisted it into the truck and branches.  As for technique, I read several tutorials online, then mixed them all together to get the effect I wanted.  I forgot to measure the finished piece, but the tree is either 5" or 6", the green roses are about 1", and the prism pendant is just over 2" long.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Sari Silk Ribbon Bowl

After making a Mandala Tablemat for Wulf in the Use the Good Beads Swap on Craftster, I was feelign guilty about having ben the swap rules.  Technically the yarn to make the mandala didn't coem from MY hoard, so I used one of the yarns that was in my stash to crochet a bowl.  It's made from a ribbon yarn, created from recycled silk saris, keeping textiles out of landfills and at the same time giving fair wages to women & girls in India & Nepal, allowing them to work from home.  Both the yarn and the pattern are available from Darn Good Yarn.  

Monday, July 23, 2018

Wulf's Mandala Tablemat

I recently had the fun of being partnered with the wonderful Wulf, in the Use the Good Beads Swap.  The emphasis was to use your most treasured craft supplies that you've been hoarding for years, always saying 'I need to wait till I have the most perfect, special use for them!'  In talking to Wulf, he mentioned needing a mat for the center of his dining table, so I turned to my stash of silk sari yarn.  Sadly, none of the yarns in my stash were working just right for what I wanted to make, so I actually bent the swap rules, by doing a yarn trade with someone on Ravelry.  So I did use a precious material that had been hoarded, it just hadn't been hoarded by ME.  (Don't worry, I made up for it with a second project, a fiber bowl that will be posted tomorrow.  My inner Hermione is still afraid I'll be expelled from life for breaking an arbitrary rule.) 

I actually wrote my own pattern for this one.  It's crocheted with 1.5 skeins of silk sari yarn from Darn Good Yarn.  It's made by recycling worn out clothing (saris), keeping the textiles from ending up in a landfill, and at the same time giving fair wages to women & girls in India and Nepal, allowing them to work from home.  It might look tiny, as doilies are usually made with delicate lace weight yarn, but this one is actually a heavier worsted weight, so it actually measures 17" across.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Summer Drop Shawlette

It's miserably hot here in TN in July, but I can't take my new shawlette off!  It's so soft against my skin, and blocks the drafts from the AC vents so nicely.  The pattern is called the Summer Drop Shawlette, and it is free.  The yarn is Darn Good Yarn's Silk Retreat, in Morning Glory.  I received 1 skein (275 yards) in their monthly subscription box, and initially tried to make the shawlette pattern that they sent with it, but wasn't happy with how it was coming out.  Later curiousfae offered to trade the same skein she received for one I had from a previous month, so I'd have enough to do something with.  (I love the generosity of Craftster peeps!)  A quick search on Ravelry found me a pattern that would work well with the fingering weight silk, but would also be done with a larger 6 mm hook, saving my hands which were tired from working on a lace weight shawl with a tiny 3.25 mm hook.
It's a very long and skinny, and wears more like a long oddly-shaped scarf.  It's incredibly soft on the skin, and strangely enough, the yarn smells amazing.  Not perfumed or anything, just clean and lovely.  It even made my hands smell nice while working on it!  For size reference, my dining table is 36"x60".
The colors are beautiful, but I'm considering dyeing it, since I don't really wear pastels.  Maybe a nice indigo?

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Scissor Fobs & Stitch Markers for Shawl-Along Friends

I've mentioned the Shawl-Along on Craftster a few times now.  It is absolutely one of my favorite threads there, and I love how supportive everyone is of one another.  A few weeks ago sheepBlue mentioned she had run out of a yarn halfway through a shawl, and was having trouble finding anymore of it in her area.  I checked online and found that my Joann's had it in stock, and it happened to be on sale, so I offered to pick it up for her.  Since I was going to be mailing it, I decided to add a few goodies to brighten her day. 

I started with a scissor fob, so no one can try to run off with her snips.  It was obviously inspired by her Craftster username, sheepBlue, with various shades of blue glass beads, and an adorable sheep charm.  

Next I put together a set of stitch markers, featuring some of her favorite things, including a gun and skull for her love of the My Favorite Murder Podcast, another blue sheep, an old tv for her favorite shows, buttons, dinosaur, skeleton key, book & reading glasses for her book club, embroidery thread for her awesome embroidered Teesha Moore style patchwork bags, a little artist, and an eye.

About a week later, I received my new subscription box from Darn Good Yarn.  It was a beautiful fingering weight silk in the color Morning Glory, along with a shawlette pattern.  I was game to try it, but found that I was going to run out of yarn, so Curiousfae, another member of the Shawl-Along offered to swap yarns with me.  She'd send the Morning Glory, and I'd send her a skein from a few months previous that I hadn't used yet.  

Since I had just sent a box of crochet goodies to sheepBlue, I obviously had to send one to Curiousfae too!  So she also got a scissor fob, this time of a little fairy leaning forward to peer at something.

And a set of stitch markers too, including a deck of tarot cards, a camera for her love of photography, a gnome, a caravan for her love of glamping, the Frog Prince, a K for her initial, a fae, paw print for her pup, rose, miniature fairy or gnome house, and a heart.