Friday, November 27, 2009
I made this hat using the instructions in my previous post for a friend who saw a similar knitted one she liked. I used two strands of yarn crocheted together - a bulky weight pink yarn and a white eyelash yarn. A second friend saw the hat when my husband passed it off to the first friend and asked for one in red for her mom. Since I was on a roll (and have quite the eyelash yarn stash), I worked on a white on white one during the long Thanksgiving drive to Dallas which promptly ended up on the head of my teenaged niece. Several other family members noticed it during the holiday feast and requested hats in various colors. I am quite surprised - but pleased! - at its reception. What with two strands of yarn and a large (size K or more) hook, this thing works up surprisingly fast - 3 hours max. So if you need to make a last minute Christmas gift, may I suggest....
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I have been in a hat/cap/beanie making mood lately. I have no idea why since I live in Texas and it is the rare day that Texans need to keep their heads warm. But in any case, here's my 'make your own custom cloche' instructions no matter the head size or the yarn/hook combo. Works for little girls, works for big girls.
First you need to measure the circumference of the head in question. For most adults you can figure 21" if you don't want to go to the trouble of digging out the tape measure. Now we all remember that the circumference of a circle equals 2 times pi times the radius. (Where the heck is the pi symbol on this keyboard?) Moving everything around through the magic of algebra we have
diameter = circumference/3.14
The diameter is the important number here. In our example of the circumference being 21", we have a diameter of approximately 6.7". Now you crochet in the round in a continuous spiral, starting with 6 SC in the first round and increasing by 6 each time around. In other words:
ROUND 1: CH 2. SC 6 in the second chain from the hook.
ROUND 2: (2 SC in the next stitch) all the way around for a total of 12
ROUND 3: (SC 1, 2SC in the next stitch) all the way around for a total of 18
ROUND 4: (SC 2, 2SC in the next stitch) all the way around for a total of 24
ROUND 5: (SC 3, 2SC in the next stitch) all the way around for a total of 30
.... and so on....
until the diameter is close to what you calculated (6.7" in our example.) Doesn't have to be exact, just close. Now for the easy part. However many rounds you have made so far, make twice that many without increasing (one SC in each stitch from now on.) If you had 8 rounds now add an additional 16. Finish off and weave in loose ends.
1. figure out the diameter you need (circumference of the head divided by 3.14.)
2. crochet in the round in a spiral increasing by 6 each round til you reach that diameter.
3. Now do twice as many rounds as you have already done, but only do 1 SC in each stitch.
4. Finish off and weave in loose ends.
And if you want it to be a beanie, just do fewer rounds at the end.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
I scored some great 70s craft magazines at a thrift sale recently. Ah, the styles of my youth. I remember wearing vests similar to this, although growing up in Texas we were never fashion forward enough to wear them this long. Wonder what my teenage niece will say about it?
Thursday, October 29, 2009
My friend Leslie over at Wool Mountain Studio told me about 'the magic ball' the other day. How have I not heard of it before? You take your leftover yarn odds and ends and tie them end to end to make one long ball. Voila! You've found a use for all those short lengths of yarn and created a 'magic' yarn that is full of surprises. I'm crocheting this hat with a magic ball made from a big tangled glob of leftover wool needlepoint yarn. I must admit it IS fun watching the colors change as I go along. And in case you are wondering, I haven't crocheted in the loose ends on purposes. I kind of like the way it looks - it fits the whimsical nature of the Magic Ball, don't you think?
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Our first cold snap put me in the mood to create something warm. This cowl will keep your neck warm. Or pull it up over your head like a hood to keep your head and ears warm. Or pull it down over your shoulders to keep them warm. Or do all three.
Pattern available in my etsy shop.
Monday, October 5, 2009
This Juliet cap was specially requested by a friend. It takes less that 100 yards of yarn, can be easily finished up in a hour or two, and it's absolutely perfect for the Texas Renaissance Festival! If you've never been, I strongly encourage you to go - and wear your walking shoes.
Pattern available in my etsy shop.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I have tried one new thing - I finally dyed some old vintage white hobnail bedspread fabric using Rit dye. I wasn't brave enough to dye it in the washing machine so I used a pot on the stove. Very easy after all! And the end result is a much more interesting color than white. Now to figure out what to do with it. Suggestions, anyone?
Monday, July 13, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
- 1 1 lb jar gefilte fish, drained
- 2 C cooked rice
- 2 T butter or pareve margarine
- 1/4 C chopped green pepper
- 1/2 C chopped onion
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1 10.5 oz can condensed tomato soup, undiluted
- 1 C milk
Saute onion and green pepper in butter until tender but not brown. Add salt, pepper, thyme, soup, and milk. Mix with rice. Pour into greased 1 1/2 qt baking dish. Arrange fish on top. Press into rice mixture and sprinkle with paprika. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
- large bunch of mustard, kale, chard or spinach; chopped
- bunch of cilantro, arugula or parsley; chopped
- 4 leeks, sliced and rinsed
- juice of 1 lemon
- chicken stock
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- Sautee leeks in olive oil with a few bay leaves and minced garlic
- Add brown sugar and salt. Cook for a few more minutes.
- Throw in greens. Cover with stock.
- Simmer 30 minutes.
- Stir in herbs and lemon juice.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
My gracious and generous neighbor, Redneck Mother, dropped off a mess of Swiss Chard from her garden the other day and I wasted no time in cooking it up. A few years spent in Mississippi taught me to truly appreciate plants with huge dark green leaves. Although they may look a little daunting (I have seen my MIL refuse to cook them up because they are 'too much trouble to wash') , they don't have to be labor intensive. Here's my shortcut, good for greens of all persuasion:
- Put the greens in your kitchen sink and fill it up with cold water from the tap. Let sit for about 30 minutes. Any grit left on the leaves will have sunk to the bottom of the sink.
- Take the greens from the sink and set them aside. Don't worry about drying them off - a good shake to get most of the water off is sufficient. The water that still clings to them will be used to cook them in a minute. Chop them roughly. (I like to include the big stems but some people prefer to cut them out.)
- Heat a big skillet. Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil and a minced clove or two of garlic. Saute the garlic for a minute.
- Add the chopped greens. Cook, tossing occasionally, for about 2-3 minutes. You want them wilted but not mushy. (See? The water still clinging to the greens steams and cooks them!) And don't worry about an overly full skillet - these babies shrink up a lot.
- Put them on a plate and add a little salt and pepper. If you're from Mississippi, you'll have a bottle of pepper sauce handy. If not, a splash of balsamic vinegar is nice, too.
Friday, April 24, 2009
- CH 2. Work 6 SC in the second CH from the hook.
- Make 2 SC in each of the 6 stitches (12 SC total.)
- (SC 1, make 2 SC in the next stitch) all the way around (18 SC total.)
- (SC for 2, make 2 SC in the next stitch) all the way around (24 SC total.)
- SL ST to the next SC and finish off. Weave in loose ends.
Use a tapestry needle and a length of the black yarn to sew together the three pieces with a running stitch. Now I'm off to the store to compare them to the real thing...
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Baby Seed Song by Edith Nesbit, 1858-1924
Little brown brother, oh! little brown brother,
Are you awake in the dark?
Here we lie cosily, close to each other:
Hark to the song of the lark
"Waken!" the lark says, "waken and dress you;
Put on your green coats and gay,
Blue sky will shine on you, sunshine caress you
Waken! 'tis morning 'tis May!"
Little brown brother, oh! little brown brother,
What kind of a flower will you be?
I'll be a poppy all white, like my mother;
Do be a poppy like me.
What! You're a sunflower! How I shall miss you
When you're grown golden and high! But I shall send all the bees up to kiss you;
Little brown brother, good-bye.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Here's my entry for the Crafty by Nature Contest over at Craftstylish.com. It's easy and simple. It's not horribly impressive, but did I mention that it's easy and simple? You'll need:
* empty tin cans, rinsed out
* old wool sweater(s)
* bedding plants (or seeds) and a little soil
* a pair of scissors
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Finally! Dolls that speak to my inner misanthrope! I've admired the twisted little dolls from Gravel Alley Primitives for quite some time. Reading their stories makes me laugh and reminds me not to take life so seriously - after all, no one gets out alive. I've leave you with another story for the road.
"She looks forward to the day when she can call you "hun" and make you wait 13 minutes while she changes her cash register tape. She'll giggle and say, "I'm new," even though she's not. She'll forget to scan your coupons and then make you stand in line at the customer service counter to get your discounts. She's mean like that. "
Saturday, April 4, 2009
These felts eggs are easy to make and I'm pretty sure they are fun to play with.
- craft felt (a 12" x 9" square will yield 6 eggs and cost about 25 cents at the local big box store)
- polyfill for the stuffing
- embroidery thread and an embroidery needle
- three straight pins
- sewing scissors
- an egg template
For the template just trace an egg and then add 1/4" all the way around. You can also get find a free template here but you will need to reduce it to 75% the original size to get an egg that will fit in an egg case.
- Cut out the egg shapes using the template. I fold the felt in half, pin the template to the felt and then cut two egg shapes at once. Two pieces will make one egg.
- Whipstitch the two pieces together using the embroidery thread. I find that about a 30" length of embroidery thread is just about right length for me.
- Leave about a 1" gap on the bottom of the egg for turning it inside out.
- Turn the egg inside out.
- Stick your finger in the egg and push out the seam all the way around.
- Stuff with the polyfill nice and tight.
Now whipstitch the bottom of the egg closed. Have fun!
Friday, April 3, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I found a crochet pattern for these adorable amigurumi peeps at
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Yes, you can impress your family and friends by making your own hyperbolic surface! All you do is increase the number of stitches in each successive row or round of a crochet project. That's it. Here's how to make a 'pseudosphere' (like the one I made pictured above):
1. CH 2. SC 6 in the second chain from the hook (6 SC total).
2. SC 2 in each stitch all the way around (12 SC total).
4. SC 2 in each stitch all the way around (48 SC total).
5. SC 2 in each stitch all the way around (96 SC total).
You'll get a kinesthetic feel for what 'expanding exponentially' REALLY means. Early rounds go quickly, but each successive round takes longer and longer (and also eats up exponentially increasing amounts of yarn.)
If you want to learn a little more about the mathematics involved, check out this article or just google 'hyperbolic crochet.'
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
I saw something similar to this somewhere and thought it might be fun to make up a set. The coasters and their case make an easy project for the beginning crocheter - they work up fast and make an unusual gift. You'll need:
- about 3 oz of 100% wool medium weight yarn. (Make sure it's wool - otherwise it won't felt.) I like Lion Wool Brand and Paton's Classic Wool. If you are using 2 colors like I did, a couple oz. of each color should be enough.
- a size F or G crochet hook
- a 28-30 oz can of vegetables (say, a 28 oz. can of tomatoes)
- a zippered mesh laundry bag (like the kind you wash delicates in)
- a tennis ball or a pair of jeans
THE COASTER (Make 4 of these):
- Make a circle of 6 SC. You can do this one of two ways. You can CH 2 and then make 6 SC in the second CH from the hook. Or, you can use the 'Magic Adjustable Ring.' Check the video I have for this if you don't know what I'm talking about.
- Make 2 SC in each SC around (12 SC total.)
- (SC 1, 2 SC in the next stitch) all the way around (18 SC total.)
- (SC 2, 2 SC in the next stitch) all the way around (24 SC total.)
- (SC 3, 2 SC in the next stitch) all the way around (30 SC total.)
- (SC 4, 2 SC in the next stitch) all the way around (36 SC total.)
- (SC 5, 2 SC in the next stitch) all the way around (42 SC total.)
- (SC 6, 2 SC in the next stitch) all the way around (48 SC total.)
- SL ST to next stitch and finish off.
- Repeat steps 1-8 of the coasters.
- (SC 7, 2 SC in the next stitch) all the way around (54 SC total.) If you want a two-toned holder, here is a good place to switch to your second color.
- SC in each stitch all the way around (54 SC total.)
- Repeat step 3 for 9 more times.
- SL ST to the next stitch and finish off.
Now you are ready to felt this stuff. Put everything in that mesh laundry bag and put it in your washing machine with that tennis ball or pair of jeans. The tennis ball (or jeans) will help agitate the wool and get it to felt up. Set the wash on the lowest water setting, the highest agitation setting and use hot water. Run it through a wash and rinse cycle. If the pieces aren't felted enough to your liking, you can wash 'em again. Trim any loose ends. Now to shape everything. It should be pretty easy to get the coasters flattened out - just stretch with your hands, if needed . As for the case, put it over the end of the vegetable can and tug it into shape. You make have to pull a bit on this one. It should look something like this (can you tell I live in Texas?):
Saturday, March 21, 2009
I started picking up these seed pods this morning. The count is up to about 150 with no end in sight. And these things are about the size of a hand grenade. So you can't just mow over them. You have to pick. Them. Up. Not to mention the leaves, which are bigger and also (according to my husband) cannot be mowed over.
So. Think twice before you plant one of these things. But if you still want one, here's a very important tip: never trim up the branches. Leave the lower branches low (as in close to the ground.) That way this mess stays hidden.
Friday, March 20, 2009
from the local library. I highly recommend it for those who really don't have a clue as to where to get started (and that would be me.) It's full of easy and inexpensive ways to dig in. Hence, my new pole bean teepee. I scrounged some bamboo poles from the garage and a large tree branch I had been meaning to throw away, lashed them togther with some of the t-shirt yarn mentioned in a previous post (didn't see that application coming) and instant teepee! Once I clear the grass and make a trip to the local nursery for beans I'm set.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I looked at a lot of instructions and videos on the net and here is my take on how to make yarn from old t-shirts:
- The t-shirt must have no side seams, otherwise it's not going to work.
- Wash the t-shirt in hot water and dry on high to make sure it's shrunk as much as it is going to.
- Get out your ironing board. (no, not to iron the t-shirt.)
- Slide the t-shirt on the ironing board. This will make subsequent cutting much easier. (BTW, set up the ironing board opposite how you usually do it. If you are right-handed, point your ironing board to the right. If you are left-handed, point it to the left.)
- Cut off the bottom hem of the t-shirt.
- Cut along the bottom edge at an angle until you have about 1" in width. Then keep cutting in a spiral round and round, keeping the strip approximately 1" wide. This is where the ironing board makes it easier - just rotate the shirt around as you cut. And don't be OCD about getting it exactly 1" or exactly straight - just guesstimate. Or make it wider than 1" if you what. Your call.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
by Sue Whiting. These three roses were made from a pattern in the book and I love how they turned out. (That's the same pattern as the red rose in the upper right corner of the book's front cover.) I used a slightly larger yarn than called for so these came out about 5" across - hooray for big flowers! I tend to think of them as camellias rather than roses but who cares what you call them. There are a couple more projects in the book calling to me - always the sign of a good crochet book.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
This is Isaac, nicknamed Ike-a-saurus by his big brother. Ike’s mama is the author of Haiku Mama and the amazing blogger behind Haikuoftheday, where you can read a lot of their story in her own words. Ike was born 13 weeks early and spent a lot of time in the NICU. Ike finally got to come home but then his dad got laid off and their insurance was cut off the same day.
Many mamas from the Austinmama community are rallying together to organize fundraising events to help with mounting medical bills. You can help by donating at Ike's website. You can also help by going shopping! Some Etsy sellers have offered to donate proceeds from designated items to help Ike. Rachel Hobson, over at the AverageJaneCrafter blog, has all the info on the shops involved. Go check it out and see if you can find something you can't live without. And help baby Ike at the same time.