A Winter Wonderland

Oh yes indeed, it really is Winter now, and we have the snow to prove it. The past couple of weeks have been cold and snowy up here on the mountain. Though we have had a few odd days where it was actually warmer at my home, at 8500 feet above sea-level, then it was in the lower elevations.

frozen-star-ag-m2h-designs

In appreciation of the snow and to celebrate the holidays, I have a quick little snowflake pattern for you. With only 3 rounds to crochet you can make a whole drift worth of them in just a day.

I have always loved the beauty of snow, which is probably a good thing since I live on a mountain. My favorite snowflakes are the ones I can crochet. They last longer, they are a lot warmer, and best of all crocheted  snowflakes won’t leave a puddle of water on your floors.

I hope you have a fun time with my newest snowflake.

frozen-star-d-ag-m2h-designs

Frozen Star Snowflake

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level: Easy Intermediate

Finished Size:

2 3/4 inches from point to point across center

Materials:

Yarn

Size #10 Crochet Cotton Thread

Hook

1.75mm Steel Hook (or size needed for your thread or yarn)

Notions

Yarn/tapestry needle

One stitch marker

Gauge

Total snowflake (3 rounds) measured across from point to point = 2 ¾ inches

Pattern Notes:

All rounds are worked without turning, RS of fabric is always facing out.

Instructions

Rnd 1: Starting with an adjustable slip knot, ch 2, 6 sc in second ch from hook, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [6 sc]

Rnd 2: Ch 4, Tr in same st as join (counts as first Cl), (ch 5, Cl in next st). 5 times, ch 2, dc in first Tr of Rnd (counts as first ch-5 space). [6 Cl, 5 ch-5 sp, 1 ch-2, 1 dc]

Rnd 3: ch 1, sc in first ch-5 space, (*ch 1, {dc, ch 1, Tr, ch 4, slip st in top of previous Tr, Tr, ch 1, dc} in next Cl, ch 1,* sc in next ch-5 sp) 5 times; Repeat from * to * once, slip st to first sc of Rnd. Fasten off [12 sc, 12 dc, 12 Tr, 24 ch-1 sps, 6 ch-4 sps]

Finishing

Weave in all tails.

andee-photo-aug-2016

Happy Holidays to all my dear readers.  Stay warm and enjoy some peaceful and joyful days no matter how you celebrate.

 

The Stiffy Mod Podge is what I like to use to stiffen my snowflakes for hanging ornaments. If you can’t find it locally you can order it on Amazon. Just click on the photo above.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no additional cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links.

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Learning Something New

Earlier this month I shared with you my efforts to organize my bead stash. The primary motivation for that was because I am playing with designing jewelry again. Sometimes that means using beads and other jewelry components in my crochet wearables. Other times it means getting out the wire and jewelry making tools to create fun and sparkly pieces.

tools-and-supplies

As I’ve been organizing things and working on various jewelry designs, I became interested in metal stamping. This is a great way to add words and even quotes to my jewelry pieces. Which meant acquiring some new tools and supplies.

Yesterday evening I began to experiment with metal stamping. My sons were both very interested in what I was doing. This is definitely not a quiet craft. Both boys actually gave it a try.

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Then my oldest decided to be in charge of handing me the letter stamps I needed. This little disc of aluminum was our project we worked on together. Not too bad for a first attempt.

my-first-experiments

One of the fun things about this craft form is bashing the stamps and metal with hammers. It’s a great way to take out some controlled aggression. I was being a little timid at first, which is why that first piece had some rather faint impressions.  I soon overcame my timidity though and gave the stamps a hearty whack as needed.

2nd-alum-experiment

I made this little silvery aluminum disc next. I found I’m really not wild about aluminum, especially when it is this thin. It’s surprisingly strong, but super lightweight. I dropped this disc at one point and it practically flew away. I was hunting for it for 20 minutes. These discs would be great for earrings though, as being so lightweight they wouldn’t pull on the earlobe.

natural-brass-blank

Next I played with a brass blank. These blanks were labeled “natural brass” and don’t have that gleaming yellow color that I’m used to. Brass is a harder metal than aluminum, so it took more force to create a good impression on the blank.

final-project-of-the-evening

I am still figuring out the exact method for placing my stamps before striking them. I actually made a little mistake on this piece, but corrected it. Can you spot it?  Even with the mistake I’m pretty happy with how it came out.

You may be asking, “Are you nuts taking up a new craft during the madness of Christmas?” or even, “Where are you going with this Andee?”

If you have been reading my blog for very long, you already know the answer to the first question. Yes, I’m nuts. That said, I also find learning new things to be a good way for me to manage stress. In some ways this is all an early Christmas present to me.

Where I’m going with this is yet to be seen. I am playing around with the idea of finally getting my Etsy Shop going. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years, yet it hasn’t ever come together.

compact-storage

Or this could just be a stop along my art journey as I keep expanding my creativity. It may seem counter-intuitive, but I find new creative energy for my crochet work by exploring other (sometimes un-related) crafts. For the moment this new craft isn’t taking up a lot of room mentally or physically…. and I’m having a lot of fun playing with hammers.

 

 

Some Holiday Bling

I’ve been super busy making last minute arrangements for our holiday celebrations. We are going to be having a number of visits with family and friends over the next couple of weeks. That means lots of house-cleaning, laundry, wrapping and shipping gifts.

snowy-valley

We’ve been getting some real snow accumulation and days of below freezing temperatures up here on the mountain the past week. The snowy cold weather has definitely gotten me in the mood for Christmas-time. I’ve been thinking about hats and ear-warmers. These are great crochet projects for a quick gift. Especially ear-warmers as they don’t take very much yarn or time. You may recall my Springtime Headband design that I published during NatCroMo 2015.

headband-on-model

I decided to make it again using Brown Sheep Wool’s “Lambs Pride” worsted weight yarn and some sparkly silver beads. A bit of bling for some holiday cheer. This headband might become a gift for one of my family members, or I may adopt it to keep me warm during all the running around we will be doing over the boys’ holiday break from school.

headband-w-beads-flat

It is very simple to make this headband with beads. You’ll need 38 beads. I used size 2/0 E beads, but any bead that has a large enough hole for your yarn to fit thru works. Crochet the headband following the pattern until you reach the Edging section.

headband-close-up

Following the Side One edging instructions as written for stitch placement, *work 22 regular sc, then place a bead on the top of the next sc, (work 2 regular sc, then place a bead on next sc) 18 times,* follow instructions for edging until reach the beginning of Side Two instructions; Repeat the modifications from * to* for bead placement, finish the edging following the original instructions from the pattern.

If you need help with how to add beads using the “hoist-on” method, there is a tutorial about half way thru my blog post: Making a Pendant.

You can use this hoist-on method to add beads to the top of any stitches, not just single crochets. Try using this method to add beads for some bling to any of your holiday projects. Think how pretty some beads could look on the edge of a cowl or the end of a scarf.

 

 

Trying to Organize the Beads

The past couple of months I have been working steadily away at getting my home, office and studio areas more organized. My most recent project in this endeavor was getting all my beads that I use with yarn corralled into a single container.

sorting-out-all-the-beads

This was the sorting process today on the Loveseat in my living-room. It is always astonishing to me how big a mess one ends up initially making when you start trying to organize and de-clutter. I did succeed in getting the majority of the beads into containers that make my collection more manageable, though I think I will be taking another run at it soon.

everything-into-the-box

This is the box that is the current home for the beads. It is a hanging file box similar in size to a typical “bankers” box. It’s a good size for this project since most of the beads are glass and a larger box would become extremely heavy. Inside the box are smaller boxes and other containers to keep the beads grouped.

st-chart-boot-camp-motif

I’ll be teaching this coming Saturday at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. My class: “Stitch Chart Bootcamp” where I’ll be introducing students to the ins and outs of reading crochet stitch charts and diagramed patterns. If you are in the area and want to join us you can enroll thru the shop website here.

After teaching on Saturday it will be all about the holidays for me and my family. Usually December gets pretty wild here and I don’t post on the blog as often. I’ll try to have  a new post for you at least once a week. Meanwhile I hope everyone is having a wonderful month full of holiday celebrations with family and friends.

My newest pattern at Red Heart.com

Photo courtesy of Red Heart
Photo courtesy of Red Heart

A while back the folks at Red Heart asked me to design a simple beaded necklace that beginning crocheters could manage. They asked me to crochet it in their Red Heart Metallic Crochet Thread in Size #10.

crochet-thread

I’ve always loved this metallic crochet thread, mainly because I’m part magpie. If it has sparkle I will find it. So beads and sparkly crochet thread. I’m there!

beads

Remember these beads? They were for working out this design.

We are coming up on the holiday season. Lots of parties and packages and New Year’s Eve where sparkle is the Thing! This is a great quick crochet project to add some sparkle to your wardrobe or packages. It is even a terrific quick gift project.

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The folks at Red Heart did a lovely job photographing the sample I made for them. You can find the free pattern on the Red Heart website here.  The pattern even includes a photo tutorial on making the beaded chain stitch.

multiple-strands

Of course for the holiday season I like my sparkle to really be kicked up a notch. That means I need lots of strands to my necklace.

Maybe sparkly thread isn’t really your thing? Take a look at all the other wonderful colors of Size #10 thread that Red Heart has available.

variety-of-beads-close

You can also have fun with mixing up the size and shape of beads you are using.

stringing-beads

I generally go with the size 6 E beads but in this strand I added size 2 and some triangle shaped beads. Look for beads with a smooth edge around the hole. Otherwise your beads will cut your thread or abrade the metallic tape.

floss-threader

I prefer to use a dental floss threader to string my beads onto the crochet thread (or yarn). The flexibility of the “eye” of the floss threader compresses easily to pull thru the hole in your beads and the sturdiness of the “point” end works well for scooping up beads. You can find these in most drug stores in the dental floss area.

Now it’s your turn. Time to get out the beads and thread and make some sparkle you can wear all year long.