Finally Celebrating Springtime

What most folks consider spring weather is a bit different from what it is like here on our mountain.  In fact we had 14 inches of snow and temperatures below freezing on May 11th and 12th.  

Spring Snow in my backyard

Today was sunny and the temperatures are on the rise.  According to our local climatologist we should be seeing real warming trends for the rest of the month.  In celebration of this I have a fun little pattern to share with all of you. 

Pretty Petunias

During those cold days I was comforted by my hanging basket of miniature petunias that my sweet boys had gotten me for Mother’s day.  They inspired me to create this little crocheted flower. 

Pretty Petunia 

Pretty Petunia

This pattern is text only currently, I may add a hand drawn stitch diagram later.  I worked the sample in some scraps of Caron’s Simply Soft with a G-6 (4 mm) hook.  My finished flower is 2 inches in diameter across the open blossom and about 1 inch deep. 

The flower is worked in the round starting with the base and creating a trumpet shape.  I began with an adjustable slip knot, though you can do Magic Ring if that is more comfortable for you.  Each round is slip stitched to the first st of the round instead of working in a spiral. 

Blossom: 

Finished Blossom

Round 1: Ch 2, 5 sc in 2nd ch from hook, sl st in first st. 

Round 2: Ch 1, 5 sc worked evenly, sl st in first st. 

Round 3: Ch 1, 2 sc in each st around, sl st in first st. [10 sc] 

Round 4: Ch 1, 10 sc worked evenly, sl st in first st. 

Round 5: Ch 1, (sc in next st, 2 sc in next st) 5 times, sl st in first st. [15 sc] 

Round 6: (hdc in next st, 3 dc in next st, hdc and sl st in next st) 5 times. Fasten off.* 

Stamen: 

Finished Stamen

Ch 2, work 5 sc in 2nd ch from hook. Fasten off. 

Finishing: 

Weave tails in both pieces.  Use needle to pull tails of stamen thru bottom of blossom trumpet.  Snug up stamen into bell of trumpet. 

Tails pulled thru Base of Blossom

*You can use a needle finish for last round of blossom for a neater look, just skip last sl st in pattern instructions.

I hope you enjoy making a garden of pretty petunias.

Sometimes Ya Just Gotta Wiggle

 

Sometimes Ya Just Gotta Wiggle

I was reminded of this basic rule by my 4 year old son the other day.  He had been quietly playing with a book and then coloring in his sketch pad.  Suddenly he jumped up and was moving all around, wiggling his body.

I was very entertained and after I stopped laughing, and he did too, I asked why he did that. “Sometimes ya just gotta wiggle,” was his answer.

And he is completely right.

Our bodies are built to be in motion.  That old saying about “Move it or Lose it” is quite on target.  I’m not a huge fan of the avid exercise regimen.  It may be fine for many folks, but I don’t do anything to extremes (with the exception of the consumption of chocolate…which is not a subject for today’s post).  But regularly moving about can help your brain be more alert and your body avoid injury.

Often when discussing preventing hand injury with crocheters and knitters I talk about taking breaks during your stitching time.  I’ve given suggestions on what to do during that break time.  Walk about, get a drink of water, maybe stretch…but wiggling works as well.

So the next time you take a break from your stitching try this.

Stand up and move away from your seating area so you have a bit of room around you. Stretch your arms up above your head then let them flop down by your sides.  Then wiggle your shoulders front to back and let your arms flop around like limp noodles.  Don’t worry about looking silly…trust me, you will look silly.  But you will also feel great afterward.

Just a few minutes of wiggling gets your blood flowing and helps your muscles re-balance from the restrictions of typicial stitching postures. Plus it will make you smile, possibly even chuckle…and laughter is always good medicine.

Lace Hat

I’m excited to announce that my Lace Hat pattern is now available on the Coats and Clark website.

Lace Hat

I designed this Hat to go with the Crochet Lace Fingerless Mitts.  The great thing is that 2 balls of the Heart & Sole yarn are just the right amount to make both patterns.  You can work the mitts first doing 2 at a time using 1 ball for each mitt, then use the left over amounts to stitch up a matching hat.

The pattern is for a deep hat that can be worn slouchy or pulled down “Cloche” style with the ribbed band providing a bit of extra warmth over your ears.  The open work of the stitch pattern in the crown means that this is a great hat for transitional seasons.  Like Colorado’s unpredictable mountain spring time.

Scan of Hat

Construction Zone

Time keeps marching on as I work toward converting my former massage office into my design/writing office.  Currently it is a bit of a construction zone.

The Jumble of Transition

A generous friend is getting rid of some office furniture and has kindly offered it to me.  So part of the work has been to dis-assemble it at her house, which I did the last bit tonight.  Next will be to transport it to my office and re-assemble it.  Of course before I can re-assemble it in my office I have to get things shifted about.

That table under the window is one of my new additions from my friend.  It is a wonderful drafting table that can be tilted numerous degrees from horizontal to vertical.  I will be getting lots of use of it as a tilted drawing surface and a work table.  Especially as it is a lovely waist high work suface at one of it’s settings.  I got it moved in this past Sunday. 

Work Counter before Disassembly

Hoping to have the entire furniture thing done by the end of this coming Sunday.

Being Invisible

Do you ever get annoyed with that pesky bump that comes from joining the last round of a motif when you are crocheting? Even if you are the only one that sees it, you know it’s there.

I’ve always loved working in the round.  But I went thru all kinds of hoops trying to find a way to join the last stitch of a round to the first without it looking unsightly.  I wanted a join that would hold up to use and yet would not be too obvious.

In fact, what I was really searching for was something invisible.  I happily found some great solutions in Edie Eckman’s book “Beyond the Square; Crochet Motifs” and Suzann Thompson’s book “Crochet Bouquet.”  Like many of the tips you learn in crochet, it was so obvious once I’d learned it.

In Edie’s book she talks about Tidy Joins on page 17 and has lovely clear instructions and illustrations for a couple of different joins that are invisible.  This is also a fabulous book to learn many refining techniques for getting the most out of your crochet, as well as lots of clearly illustrated and charted designs for more motifs than you can imagine.

Later on I acquired Suzann’s book.  On page 14 she shows step-by-step the instructions for doing a Needle Join that has become my favorite join to use, particularly on hats as it is nearly impossible to spot.  This is also a book that will have you itching to make all kinds of crocheted flowers to embellish anything and everything.  My only complaint with this book is it does not have any stitch charts, all the patterns are only text.

If you are looking for an invisible join for ending your crochet work, take a look at either of these books.  Both are great additions to your crochet library.

Getting Stuffy

I love little crocheted toys,  popularly referred to as “amigurumis.”  I have 2 small boys in my household and there are numerous neices, nephews and little friends that need toys too.  But, I hate, hate, hate, to crochet super tightly like lots of amigurumis require.

Finished Bitty Bear

My first solution to this problem was to crochet my amis in feltable yarns.  I use a bigger hook than is usually stated in the pattern, stuff the little bits and sew it all together.  Then give the toy a really hot bath in the kitchen sink.

The little bear pictured above was my first experiment with this.  I thought it would work best if I also stuffed him with wool roving.  Unfortunately, the roving felted more than the bear did!  I ended up taking some stitches thru his neck to snug things up.  His pretty pink bow hid the plastic surgery very nicely though.

Bitty Bear with some Cosmetic Surgery

The lesson I learned from this was to pre-felt the roving I was going to use for stuffing.  My next attempt was a baby turtle for my oldest son.  This time I partly felted the roving and stuffed the turtle very full.  The turtle came out almost too firm, though quite cute.

Little Green Baby Turtle

I have made a number of balls that are felted too.  Experimentation has taught me that using a fiber fill stuffing at the center with layers of roving around it works best.  My other trick for amis is to use fun fur or a fluffy yarn so I don’t need to stitch as tight, yet the fiber fill won’t work it’s way out.   Some examples are my Pocket Monsters.

Pocket Monster
Purple Pocket Monster

So if you’ve avoided trying to make amigurumis because the tight stitching hurts your hands some of these approaches might help you.  Just be sure you have enough yarn for all the “kids” in your life.  Everyone will want one. ;o)