Tag Archives: lace

Busy Fingers #1

Note – I wrote this one a month ago and am only just getting around to posting it now.  Hence all the references to “Advent” and “December”.  I tried to fix it, but it was getting too complicated.  I hope you can cope with this blast from the past…

crochet angel

My fingers have been very busy this Advent season. Here’s why:

 

1. Something about Christmas fills me with the urge to create things with my hands.

2. I prefer to spend my time with a bag of yarn and a box set of Little Dorrit than doing battle with a shopping centre car park.

3. I get to tell myself I’m being all anti-consumerist and sticking it to the man.

4.  I’ve been invited to two weddings this December, and as a result have NO MONEY for expensive presents.  All my money fell down the wishing well…

Here’s what I made for Harry’s and Christopher Robin’s teachers:

group of crocheted angels

These angels are TOTALLY MY OWN PATTERN.  I’m so excited!  OK, so maybe I got lacy wings idea from a book I got from the library and I did steal Lucy Ravenscar’s method of joining the head to the body without fastening off, but the rest of it is ALL ME.  If you look closely, you can see that some of the angels have different body-types – it took me a while to refine the pattern…

Back of angel

I might just put a tutorial up for these sometime next year…

Decorated gingerbread

We also gave them gingerbread in jars, using The Green Dragonfly’s excellent recipe.  All of the kids helped to make these.  Annie ate all her dough, and Christopher Robin got rather creative in his choice of biscuit shapes, but I bit back the strong urge to fix the wonky ones and let them roll and cut to their hearts content.  We decorated with white fudge writing icing, but I wouldn’t recommend it (it doesn’t set properly).

gingerbread in jars

All of the teachers were very happy with their Christmas presents, and I was glad of the opportunity to thank them for taking care of my boys this year.

Stay tuned for more – I’m afraid you don’t have a choice!

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Wedding Boast

I just wanted to show off.

A couple of weeks ago I went to a beautiful wedding.  I got to spend the day feasting with friends and celebrating a very exciting event.  I was aware that the happy couple would be living in a small apartment that was already fixed up with toasters and cutlery and wine glasses and towels and that the present they would most like would be money, but I couldn’t help feeling like it was a little impersonal. Cold hard cash.  How could I turn it into soft, friendly currency?

The first idea I had was to buy them a tea-pot and make a cosy for it and put the money inside, but then I remembered that the wedding was going to have a bit of a Star Wars theme, as it was being held on May the forth (be with you).  Also, they might never open the tea-pot.  They might spend the rest of their days drinking only coffee and thinking bad thoughts about their tight-fisted friends…

So, after talking it over with a few friends, I came up with this:

Crocheted Yoda

I got the pattern from Lucy Ravenscar on Ravelry.  I don’t usually buy patterns, but I bought this one as it was exactly what I wanted and there wasn’t anything as good for free online.  It was worth the money – a clever pattern, beautifully written with plenty of pictures.

Loaded Yoda

And here’s how I included the (warm and fuzzy) monetary element.

Naked Yoda

And here’s how he looks without his robe.

Yoda from above

And here’s an aerial view (OK, now it’s getting ridiculous)

Having done such a great job on this one I decided I was a creative genius and went on to do a handmade card as well.  I’ve received cards before that involve simple motifs sewn onto card with a basic machine stitch.  I had an idea of doing something clever with lace.  Cute and personal.   Fresh, clean lines.

Sewing isn’t really my strong suit.  I aspire to be a clever sewing lady, but I’m not there yet.

So I got up a design and I pinned everything in place and I tried to sew it and it got a bit wonky so I tried to fix it but it was definitely asymmetrical and you couldn’t tell what it was supposed to be, so I drew all over it and it was no longer chic or minimalist and it looked a bit of a strange mess, but I’d spent so much time and energy on it that I decided to go ahead with it anyway and in the end it looked like this:

The Card

Hmmm.  I need to learn to quit while I’m ahead…

 

Happy Birthday, Cindy!

Time for me to do some more boasting about my hooky creations!

It was my youngest sister’s twenty-second birthday last month and I made her a hat.   This was my first attempt at making a hat for a grown up and I had a lot of fun with it.  I got the pattern off the Lincraft website, it’s called “Angora Beret” (see here).  My sister’s name isn’t ‘Cindy’ by the way, I had such fun creating pseudonyms for my children and husband (I named them after literary characters) that I thought I’d do the same for my siblings (named after our corresponding character in “The Brady Bunch”.  I would be Marcia.)

Cindy's hat

I spent a lot of time faffing about with the edging.  Everything I tried was either too over-the-top or too plain.  The final product is actually my original design!  It’s very simple (double, treble, picot, treble, repeat), but it came out of my own head!  I’m going to write it up as a proper pattern as I’m sure there’s a raging demand for patterns for lace edging.  Plus, this would seem like more of a legitimate blog if I had some bona fide patterns on it (instead of just boasting about projects and general natterings on)

Close up of lace

Cindy, being a very kind sister, promptly plonked the hat on her head and said it would give her true hipster cred.  I didn’t mean for that last sentence to rhyme, but I’m so glad it did.

Manic

When we last left our hero, she was valiantly struggling with a colossal problem:  how to make this Christmas bell look less odd and forlorn?  And in only two days?

blue bell on tree

The answer?  Fight crochet with crochet!

Somehow, I got it into my head that the best way to lessen the impact of one wonky bell was to whip up SEVERAL wonky ornaments to put all over the tree.  At least then they’d be co-ordinated…

It was at this point that things got a little manic…

First of all, I hooked up a bunch of snowflakes whilst watching a very old and incredibly sexist James Bond movie with Mr Knightley (“Oh, James, it might seem like I am resisting your advances, it might sound like I’m saying ‘no’ emphatically, but just slap me round a bit and I’ll suddenly find you irresistible!”)

I love making these snowflakes.  There is an excellent tutorial for them here, at my beloved Attic 24 (incidentally, it was this very tutorial that first introduced me to the many wonders of this delightful blog)

Snowflakes with Harry's hand

I pinned them out for blocking. I usually spray them with laundry spray, but I couldn’t find any so I painted them with watered down PVA glue instead (when I found it.  The real life version of what went on here was much more manic).  Here you can see Harry going after one of the “lollypop” pins (not for the last time!).

After I made up this batch, I happened to read an awesome post by The Stitch Sharer on crochet snowflakes (by complete co-incidence, it was so weird!), which gave me the idea for this snowflake:

Star Snowflake

It’s basically Lucy’s “small” snowflake, but with treble stitches throughout instead of doubles and 5-chain loops in the last round.  I drew up a really-truly pattern for it here

Ah what fun!

So, things were looking a little better – but! – I thought, in renewed manic frenzy – what about the TOP?  It needs something on the TOP!  The whole thing is rubbish without something on the TOP!!

After much complicated deliberation (a-star-would-be-simpler-but-looks-too-much-like-a-snowflake) which I won’t bore you with here, I came up with this:

Tree Angel

I had already been playing around with 6ichthusfish’s pattern for a nativity set (as you do) which I first saw here.  So I took my Mary head and body and put wings and a halo on her.  And I left the bottom open, so it’s kinda like a finger puppet.  Then I stuffed the Christmas tree up the skirt…

And what is the result?

ta-da!

Not too bad, I guess.

And my beautiful mother-in-law, of course, made all the appropriate exclaiming noises (of happiness, I mean, not of disgust).  So I guess things aren’t so bad after all.

Panic

So, I guess it all started when I got a hankering to make a crochet bell.  One of my favourite decorations on my mum’s Christmas tree is a little red crochet lace bell and I wanted to see if I could make one too.  So I started trawling the Internet and found this pattern and then I dug through my shamefully oversized yarn stash and came across just the right amount of cotton yarn in a lovely turquoise colour.  So what if turquoise isn’t the most christmassy colour?  I’ll dress it up with silver – ooooh, and little clear buttons – and it will look a treat.

Nan's Stash

The yarn was in my nan’s old stash (well, actually, she was Mr Knightley’s nan, but she was such a warm and loving person that I like to think of her as my nan too.  The smell of the inside of the yarn bag when I first opened it made me cry and cry).  So THEN I got an idea:  what if I made the Christmas bell with Nan’s yarn and then gave it to my mother-in-law as part of her Christmas present?  Oh!  Yes!  Where’s my hooook??

So I got stuck into it on our drive to South Australia.  I was in Robe and up to the second-last round when I dropped my 3.5mm hook under the car seat.  Ack!  It never surfaced despite much grunting and scrabbling.

At Victor Harbour, I bought a new hook in a smaller size (it needed it – the first attempt was too big and flopsy) and started from the start again.

In Glenelg, I got to the last round and ran out of yarn!  Ack!

In Adelaide, I frogged a few rounds

As we drove through Keith, Nihill, Bordertown and Horsham, I had another go with tighter stitches (and then frogged a few more rounds and tried it again)

By the time i got back to Melbourne, I had a little blue bell, ready for blocking.

In retrospect, this probably would have ben a good time to check the instructions – but I’d only printed off one page and anyway, it was all too exciting to stop and do something as sobering as looking up the pattern.  As a result, the bell turned out a little misshapen and wonky.  And lame.  And I couldn’t find a silver bell anywhere, so I had to use a gold one (pilfered off one of Christopher Robin’s kinder Christmas cards), which wasn’t as good.

Wonky Blue Bell

Which would have been fine, I would just be giving it as an add-on to the main present, a quiet aside, hardly worth mentioning really, just a small bonus gift.

Except then Mr Knightley bought a miniature Christmas tree as the main present.  “And you can hang the ornament on it.” he added, cheerfully.

Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!

If I hang the wonky bell on the Christmas tree and give the present just like that, then the wonky bell becomes the FEATURE.  It says “Look at me!  Aren’t I clever?  I made you a lopsided Christmas decoration!  With its own tree: it’s that special!”

And it’s FAR too big for the tree!  It looks ridiculous!

blue bell on tree

Oh panic: the more I look at it, the more it seems like the creation of some kinder kid looking for a gold star.  The kinder kid who’s not allowed to play with scissors…

What am I going to do??

Stay tuned for the sequel…