Tag Archives: crochet

Family Treasures and Change in the Air

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Today is raining. Which is cool, we need the rain, fo shizzle! So I was going through a (small) craft box full of interesting things. Elastic, unopened (THAT’S where I put that! Just replaced it last month. Sigh) trim and edging. Some raffia, some round plastic canvas pieces. AND, a rich finding of booty! Not pirate’s treasure (and not that other bootie either,) but close. Pieces of Lace, Tatting and Embroidery belonging as far back as my great-grandmother – and who knows, now, maybe further!

Family Dresser Scarf Linen, with Embroidering & Tatting (Left and Right)

Next up… A lone Square for a Quilt project that is now defunct. I probably have others, enough for a few pillows, a scarf or something equally benign! I made this myself, one of my first forays into quilting, back in the late ’90s.  (below)

I found a pile of pieces of tatting, embroidery and lace, again, handed down from mother to daughter. My mother always used handkerchiefs, and her greatest treasures were the ones she inherited from her mother, often with little flowers embroidered on them, and hand-tatted edging.  What lovely projects will I be able to find to use these? I memorialized some of these in a gift to my sister Betty. I have asked her if she has a picture of it, or will take a picture of it, so I can share that process with you in a later posting.

Last but absolutely definitely not least,  I found a gorgeous piece  of crocheted tatting a square collar – so creamy in color, with nary a rip or tear in it, and with no visible stains either! I have a picture somewhere of my mother wearing it over a navy blue dress – simple elegance at its best. Will look for that picture (may have to tap my sisters on that one too!) Kind of got a pilgrim look about it, doesn’t it? Appropriate, since I am one of 35 million Mayflower descendants! 🙂

Now, for the news. I am working on creating a new webpage/blog for my craft pages – it will be a rather inclusive blog, with books for sale, crafts for sale occasionally, and craft products for sale (occasionally) as well as reviews of crafting books. My other blog (Readerwoman Redux) will stay where it is (click name to the left to reach) for the foreseeable future. And the Crafter’s Cafe will stay open – but stagnant, with past articles available, and such, with a link at the top to the new site. If you are a subscriber to this blog, you WILL HAVE TO RESUBSCRIBE to the new one! It may take me a month or so to get it up and open – so keep your eyes open and your fingers ready to click over to the new site! Thanks for all your support! I am moving my site so I can (1) sell things (2) have sponsors and (3) appropriate advertising (4) have almost everything in one place (5) save my sanity. (Oh. too late on that one. Oh well…)

Thanks for joining me today at The Crafter’s Cafe. The new site will be called (Tentatively) Crafts and Books and Stuff ~ Oh MY!

Til next time! Happy Trails!

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Decorating with Crafts

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Finally settled, more or less, in our new home. I have my finished craftwork displayed where possible, and have a bit more organizing to do in order to set up my work table. There is something uniquely joyous about having my own handiwork around me – not because I think my work is so fabulous, but because they are of my own creation – a bit of me on the wall, so to speak!

Remember the wooden plaque I found hiking in Arizona? It is hanging on the wall now, and is absolutely perfect where I have it. IMHO. It is below a treasured find, a b/w photo of John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt, at Yosemite, during the time of the formation of the National Parks system.

Here is a closeup >>>

Such fun, having it on the wall, where I can see it every day!

In my previous life in Rio Vista CA, I collected driftwood, as we lived on the Sacramento River. Two of these I have made into Candle holders. I found the globes in a dumpster, and was tickled to death to be able to recycle them this way!

Not the best pictures, I admit, but you get the idea!

                                                                                        ^More driftwood I have saved for later projects!

  One of my favorite projects. A found glass bottle, a piece of driftwood, and some collected sea glass, sea shells, a turkey feather, a dragonfly (one of my totems,) some lavender from my sister’s garden and a small snake pin (my other totem.) These reside now on the shelf under the window above my kitchen sink, and it makes me smile every time I see it! (closeup below)

<decoupaged on the wood, and then the word “mother” in different languages written around the petals of the flowers.  We use it by the door to hang the dogs’ leashes on – it is a fun memento of a job I loved.

>>Next up is  some of my painted houses. I was on a real kick for a while of painting on rocks. I quickly discovered that this was NOT my forte. Yet these little houses possess a piece of me, and have a charm and l that I simply adore. I didn’t make them to sell, or even give as gifts, but to experiment with a new craft, and create something that was original and “me.”

My home has lots of character and whimsy around – and that is the way I like it. You probably won’t find pictures of my living room in a decorating magazine, but neither will you see many designer magazines that show homes that are created by mixing family treasures, homemade crafts and a simplistic comfortable style meant to embrace doggie footprints, the smells of homemade baking, and piles of yarn and crafts in the making. Does your home make you smile and feel as if it expresses you and your family? If it doesn’t – you need to get busy crafting!

Some of my favorite handmade scarves live on this rack by the door, when they are not being worn.

Crocheted, dyed silk and fabric all have a place in my life…

I LOVE SCARVES!

Great Links and a Pattern!

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We leave Arizona to return home to California in 2-1/2 days. I should not be blogging. Yet here I am! It is called work avoidance. I indulge in it regularly, how about you?! I decided to take a break in the saying goodbye to new friends here, and getting ready to greet my old friends in California to share some links and project ideas with you. I haven’t jumped on the Halloween bandwagon because I simply don’t have time – maybe next year.! But these links will give you some fun ideas for gifts and for the upcoming holidays.

First up – click on this cute picture to go to the site where you can create your own Owl Calendar – FREE!

Owl Lover 2012 Calendar

Totally Kewl, Right?

Next – a quick picture of the last ruffle scarf I completed this week – an easy project, a variation on a pattern I found online.

Two shades of dusky blue…

Here is MY pattern

downloadable PDF

My first project (after unpacking and all the Crap that comes with doing that!) is to use this to make decoupage art.

and here is the map I want to use

http://www.donmeth.com What a strange mind! 🙂

I am waiting to hear back from Dan Meth on whether or not he will allow me to use this map… if not, I will go to the fabulously creative Karen over at The Graphics Fairy. EVERY day she posts printable graphics for decoration and creativity. Totally love her site, I have 127 graphics/pictures downloaded that I want to use!

A few other great links for blogs, designs and creative ideas that I have found in the last month or so:

Bugs and Fishes by Lupin has some fun felt projects – I am really into using felt right now! Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat and all that jazz!

Stitched in Color has some great tutes – mostly quilting things – and I love her writing too – her blogs are always interesting and thoughtful.

Bits and Bobs is a family effort – I am going to try the Bobble Crochet Pillowcase Edging!

Do it Yourself Divas have a tute (for making your own decoupage glue!) I will be putting to good use when I get to decoupaging on my wonderful boards-find (as above…)

and the last one for the day:

I love this advent “calendar” on The Feminist Housewife   – this was published almost a year ago (this particular post) but she has much to offer and a fun outlook on her busy yet creative life.

That’s it for now – hope you enjoyed my notes – until sometime in November, I remain yours truly, the craft maven of The Crafter’s Cafe!

Boredom is the Crafter’s Friend

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I get bored easily. Especially now, living in a 30 foot trailer, without most of my craft stuff available. For the moment, thanks to Arthur (aka Arthritis) I am not crocheting.  I did manage to finish this crocheted cap for a child – a contribution to my current charitable endeavor for Kaps for Kendall. You can find out all about that here: http://www.kapsforkendall.com/

1000 caps by December 15th,2011. I am doing it via the web site Craftsy.com If you want to bypass all the folderol – mail your completed caps directly to Craftsy, who will deliver them to Kaps for Kendall. Send caps to:

Keep a Kid Warm
c/o Sympoz Inc.
1553 Platte #202
Denver, CO 80202

  • The hats can be in all sizes
  • The hats should be fun! Children like to wear bright colors
  • Hats for little boys are especially welcome
  • The hats don’t have to be knit or crochet, sewn hats are great, too!

So that solved the boredom problem for a while! Now, with a little over a month to go before I move back into a real house, with space for all my treasures,  I am doing two things: 1) searching for good craft projects for the future, including holiday ideas and 2) browsing the internet for patterns and ideas to share with my readers! SO here are today’s ideas for boredom busters!

In the mood to do some decorating for Halloween? (PLEASE, let’s wait until after Thanksgiving to do Christmas decorating, okay? Christmas gift planning is great, just skip putting out the santas and snowmen until the Friday after Thanksgiving!)

Andrea Kay Porter from Poppies at Play has posted a downloadable, printable set of Halloween letters for making Halloween Blocks. Too, Too cute! You can find all the details and the complete tute on her site. The tutorial is not as complete as I would like, since it doesn’t give the actual dimensions to cut, but I am going to print out the letters in B/W and using my Elmer’s Spray Adhesive – which will bond temporarily to the wood (see can instructions!) I can then use that as a template to cut the blocks before permanently attaching the design. Voila!

Another Halloween idea I simply adored was one for making a reader’s delight with “Well Mannered Pumpkins.” She calls them well-mannered because she used an old book of Etiquette tips! My book, for this project, is an old book of quotes. Use the above link to get to the tute – you will have to scroll down the blog a bit to this project, her September 13th post. Easy to make, inexpensive as all get out (around $2 each!) and something you can put your own unique spin on so easily! This project really appeals to me, because I am, as most of you know, an avid reader, and “Readerwoman” is my nickname!

Halloween is becoming America’s #2 holiday, behind Christmas, so break out your creativity and get going on some of these fun ideas for decorating your house for those trick or treaters!

Blogwise – I have come across some sites that I subscribed to because they scratched the itch of what to do next!

Crafter Hours has some marvelous ideas – especially this one for making a tank top out of a tee-shirt!

If you share my interest in Steampunk crafting and decorating, you will find this blog right up your alley! Gothic Rainbows has some simply awesome steampunk and goth ideas.  I intend to attempt to make the marvelous goth watch – there is no tute, but the picture is great, so I am going to go to Fire Mountain for some of the needed “parts” and give it a try when we get back to California!

A new favorite blog is The Long Thread. Ellen does wonderful things with needle and thread, and I adore her felt projects. Take some time here to browse the tutorials, and look at the projects. Simply Divine.

Here is a blog with a great giveaway – CASH! Nikki, In Stitches is offering $250 in cash! While you are there entering, take a look at the section of her blog called “Make it Together.”  Great projects and tutes in a variety of mediums – paper, fabric, jewelry, yarn and more. Nikki is a new blogger, and her ideas and projects are clever and inspiring.

Well – that’s it for today. I may set up my own tute for the Halloween Blocks to show you how it goes – it depends on how hot it gets – its 95 out there now – and it is only 10:30 in the morning!

Until we meet again – Happy Crafting!

Trends in Crafting

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Crafters are as subject to trends as are those who follow fashion. I thought I would share a few of the finds I have come across online that seem to be making the news with crafters who want the latest goodies!

Plant Based Fibers are really hot right now. These include hemp, soy, silk and bamboo yarns and fibers for all kinds of craft projects. There are actually many pluses to using these fibers and yarns. They are “green” and sustainable in use, are generally softer than machine created acrylic blend yarns and fibers, and some are even very suited to wash and wear type use. (Not usually silk and soy – you’ll have to check the individual properties thereof, when you purchase!) There are spinners who sell their originally spun and dyed fibers on Etsy and Artfire. Of course organic cottons continue to enthrall me, and have for years. Now, though, they are more readily available and in a wonderful variety of earthy colors and textures. Check out Ravelry if you aren’t already a (free) member – they describe and explain  many yarn types on their site.) There ARE some drawbacks to be aware of though. Many plant fibers have zero elasticity. You may find that a cotton/hemp blend might give you more flexibility. Plant-based fibers can be really expensive. For example a 50gr (88 yard) skein of Pakucho brand yarn is around $9 online plus about $4 for shipping (per skein)

Stripes seem to be back in too – in fabric, jewelry and home decor. I have seen some zigzag striping too – which was a bit scary to me! But stripes are tricky when crafting.  One fun thing to do is to make simple plate/light switch covers with scraps of striped fabric or wallpaper. Striped fabric can be great for quilting, or for making slimline skirts for yourself or a favorite girl-child. An example of Quilting with Stripes can be found on Geta’s Quilting Studio Blog. This tutorial is great if you want to try something new in Quilting! I am looking forward to trying another project from 100 Pretty Little Projects to make some striped ornaments for the holidays.

Combined/Mixed Media continues to be popular – as do Recycled Crafts. One of the hot projects is “repurposing” wool sweaters in felting projects – yet another hot craft! Using old jewelry, combined with paint or even crochet makes for some interesting eye candy! I think we will see more and more steampunk, vintage, Victorian, and fantasy themes used creatively. Because of the economy, more and more of us are reusing, and finding new uses for old things such as curtains, sheets, and clothing. I have been saving old jeans for years, and in 2012 will be starting a mega quilting project for my king sized bed, using jeans, and fabric printed with books, adding embellishments and top stitching. I expect the project to take me at least a year, so I will try to share it with you as I go along! Not until we move back to California in 42 days 17 hours and 35 minutes though!

In crochet (and some knitting, I believe) Amigurumi patterns are continuing to be a popular form of crafting. Add this to the natural, organic yarns, and I bet you will see some really creative and adorable work. For those not familiar with some of the terms in this posting, check the bottom of it for some definitions and links.

Last up on my blog today on trends is personalized, handcrafted accessories. MP3 carrying cases made of fabric, covers for laptops and tablet computing devices, diary covers, crocheted or knitted holders for hooks and needles, even original cup huggers for your hot latte, complete with a pocket for sugar packets or your frequent buyer card! Many books and websites have great patterns for these kinds of projects, or you can really dealve into your creativity and design your own!

Definitions!

Amigurumi: the Japanese art of creating crocheted or knitted stuffed animals. The word comes from a combination of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll. (Thanks WIki!) SEE PICTURE ABOVE RIGHT.

Steampunk: Refers to a time period when steam power was utilized – often thought of as Britain in Victorian times, although Steampunk is NOT Victorian in nature. It encompasses the elements of science fiction and early modern machinery (think blimps and Jules Verne for example) I think of it as alternative crafting!

This marvelous watch can be YOURS to make! Cutout and Keep has some wonderful steampunk crafts and how-tos.

Hope I gave you some ideas and inspiration for crafting!

Book Review – Crocheted Prayer Shawl Companion

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I first saw this book at the library – yay LIBRARIES! – and then requested a review copy from Net Galley. Janet Bristow and Victoria A. Cole-Galo, founders of Shawlministry.com have done a superb job of creating a useable and very desirable book for crocheters.

I have been a dedicated crafter for charity for many years; at one time I began and ran a chapter of Project Linus in Tennessee (www. Projectlinus.org) donating crocheted, knitted and quilted blankets for children. Our blankets and afghans were carried in police cars and donated to local women and children’s safe houses, and over the years our group worked together, we created many beautiful originals for needy children in our community.

Now, this book has inspired me to create crocheted shawls for several groups that I support, as well as for special friends. The concept of a “Prayer Shawl” is both simple and complex. It transcends religious boundaries, for the prayers come in the making, not particularly for the use. Now mind you, some use the prayer shawls they have for meditative, prayerful times, which is beautiful and tender. But the prayer is in each stitch of the crocheter’s hands, and many patterns are created with intent specifically directed at trios of stitches (for the Trinity, for example) and quite often the shawl is accompanied by heartfelt poetry or dedications.

These “Warm Hugs and Sacred Spaces” are designed both for men and women, and the book includes some smaller shawls for girls as well. There are 37 patterns in the book, and so far, I have finished one and started two more. (I am a bit ADD, so I like to alternate between two projects at a time!) [see photos] The one I have finished is called the Power of Three Shawl, designed by Elizabeth Barnet of Franklin Laies, NJ. I envisioned the ‘three’ as faith, hope and love, instead of the Trinity – and since three is a powerful number in many of the world’s religions, it is especially meaningful for me. I added a different colored border, and two little crocheted pockets.

 I am also working on the Textured Beaded Shawl, from a pattern by Jan Bass, from Hayward CA. I am doing it in a similar color to the pattern, but will add the beading differently. This pattern has the visual and textural beauty of popcorn stitches.

 

Last night I started the Peaceful Waves Shawl designed by Lizzy Crocker, Orange, CT. All three have been easy to create, and easily adapted to different yarns and your own ideas in borders, decorating and size. Most of the shawl patterns have a Prayer of Blessing or a Poem or a loving thought, often from the designer, that could inspire you to write one of your own to present with your gift of the shawl. Whether you are giving to a friend, a stranger, or an organization, the love and prayerful intent in the making is what makes these shawls so unique and special.

You don’t have to be religious or spiritual to use and enjoy the patterns, of course. And you don’t need to be particularly skilled or dedicated to the craft of crocheting – for it is a forgiving art, and the enjoyment in the process is joyous.

The Resource Pages in the back are helpful; here you will find a list of yarn-maker websites, ideas on starting your own Prayer Shawl Ministry, crochet definitions for stitches and techniques, a chart for understanding yarn weights, and a great page on color & symbology.

Whether you are simply an avid crocheter looking for original patterns to work up, an individual wanting to make a gift for a friend in need, or a group wanting to create your own charitable ministry this book deserves shelf space!

The authors also have a book of patterns for knitters. Publishers, The Taunton Press, have done a great job (in my experience) in creating a work without errors, with beautiful photos. See the links bar for more links!

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (September 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600852930