Saturday, July 28, 2012

More about snowflakes

In general, when I was on the hunt for snowflake patterns, I had a hard time for one reason.  Every day I would set a goal of 1 hour of hunting and copy and paste patterns into a Word document to spell check and print.  I kept them all.  They didn't survive in digital form after a computer crash.  But more importantly, I didn't keep track of my sources so I would not keep repeating.  Many didn't have pictures with the instructions that would copy and paste.  So I could not even check that way.  I started keeping that information very late in the game after I started crocheting.  Some of my sources are easy to find and are constantly being updated.  Others have been taken down for one reason or another.  Here are links to some I have used.  This might be a new one given the 2008 date but the sites it references are for the most part ones I used, I think.

Two books I would not want to be without are 99 Snowflakes (Leisure Arts #3013) and 

Crochet 101 Snowflakes (American School of Needlework No. 1217) by Delsie Rhoades and Kathy Wesley (1995)

One of the more interesting things I learned about snowflakes is that when they form as water freezes, they are 6 sided figures.  The arms may break or not fully form but they are 6 sided all the same.  4, 5, 7, 8 sided figures are interesting and I did find some labeled as snowflakes.  I make quite a few too.  They are really neat but if you are a purist, you might want to skip them.  A couple I wish I had.  In particular is one that had 4 arms radiating from the center and the pattern called for each arm to be crocheted and break the thread and start anew in the next spot indicated in the pattern.  All fine and well but there must have been a mistake in the pattern or my reading of the pattern.  I had room for 4 1/2 arms and if I took them out and made them fit the space I had, it looked very wrong.  I didn't keep that flake.

Along the way, I learned I liked the flake patterns that were mostly chains for working but more solid looking for aesthetics.  Good old white school glue, waxed paper, foam core board and rust proof pins are essential for stiffening the flakes, if you like them like that.  More glue than water is essential to keeping mostly chained flakes looking their best (too much water in the mix and the droop sadly before the Christmas season is over).  There are groups for people who do nothing but crochet snowflakes.  Snowflakes can be joined together to form lacy place mats and tablecloths.  Smaller flakes make nice adornments for coats and fabric purses or headbands for girls.

Enjoy the links.  There are plenty out there.  There are even a few beading sites that have beaded snowflakes that are pretty neat.  Done in tiny size 10 or 11 seed beads in either white or silver or clear (or combination of those) they make nice earrings or a pendant for a chain.  You can also add beads to your flakes.  Pre-string or grab as you go and put them in where ever you think is a good spot.    I did a couple in baby blue beads and red beads.  After all these years, I still don't know if I like them.

Lastly, throw in a few icicles to keep things interesting.  There are a few patterns for them as well.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Christmas in July continuation

Sorry it's been a bit since I posted anything.  My church had its annual carnival and I co-chair the whole thing.  We got rained out a day and a half and had a day and a half of good weather.  Better luck next year.  This is why my mind has not been on knitting or crocheting.  On the up side, I had my yearly review at Michaels today and found some interesting new yarns to play with.

I picked out Loops & Threads Poodle and Pompom and Flaunt yarns, Red Heart's Boutique series Chic, and Premier Yarns' Starbella.  I then headed over to Ravelry after checking out the patterns available for these yarns on the company sites.  As much as I hate to admit it, some of these yarns are very popular in scarves.    They take the work out of projects and allow you to use simple stitches to complete a scarf in a small amount of time.  The finished items look stunning and you can get all the glory.  Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

I have also seen some interesting and unique ideas for some of these yarns, shawls, purses, hair scrunchies, adornments like flowers for other items, purses/clutches, pillows, blankets, cuffs and mitts, and strangely tea cozies.  For as much as I like a nice cup of tea when it's cold out, I never really thought about these for tea cozies but they are there.  And they look really interesting.

And now since a tornado watch is in effect for my location, I must get off the computer and shut things down.  This weather system arrived earlier than expected.  At least I don't have to go out right now for a class and I'm home from my day job.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bookmark Patterns

As promised, here are 2 bookmarks.  The first is a knit Christmas tree.  The lace pattern is taken from Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knit Patterns.  Her books are a gold mine of patterns that seemingly never end.  Even if you run out of actual patterns to work with, your imagination can take those patterns and combine them in ways that many have not seen before.  The second is a double pineapple bookmark in crochet.  Pineapples in crochet have been around for a very long time.  They can be added into patterns, stand alone, created circles or squares.  They are an amazing motif.  In my research of pineapples, I have even seen a pair of earrings made from crocheted pineapples.

Knit Christmas Tree Lace Bookmark

Gauge:  Not important for this project

Finished Size:  2" x up to 6" long

Materials needed:  Size 10 Crochet Cotton Thread, I used DMC Baroque in Christmas Green
                             Size 7 steel hook
                             Size 0 needles
                             Tapestry needle

Stitches used:  K - knit, P - purl, k2tog - knit 2 together, ssk - slip stitch knitwise, slip stitch knitwise, put both back on the left needle and knit them together through the back of the stitch, 

Cast on 25 sts.

Knit in garter stitch up to 4" in length.  For the lace section, keep first 4 and last 4 sts in garter.  End with 3 - 6 rows more of garter stitch.

Lace Panel Directions

Row 1 wrong side (and all wrong side rows):  K 4, P to last 4 sts, K 4.

Row 2:  K 10, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k to end

Row 4:  K 9, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k to end

Row 6:  K 8, (k2tog, yo) twice, k 1, (yo, ssk) twice, k to end

Row 8:  K 7, (k2tog, yo) twice, k3, (yo, ssk) twice, k to end

Row 10:  k 6, (k2tog, yo) 3x, k 1, (yo, ssk) 3x, k to end

Rows 12, 14, 16, 18,  20, 22, 24,  and 26:  Rep Rows 8, 6, 4, 6, 8, 6, 4, 2

Row 28:  K 11, k2tog, yo, k to end

Row 29: Rep Row 1

For this pattern I used a light pencil mark to keep track of where I was in the row count.  Also this will need blocking.  Use a burst of steam and a light pressing for this.  The garter will need stretched a bit around the lace panel and the stockinette background will need the steam to help the stitches to line up.

Pineapple Bookmark

Materials needed:  Size 3 thread, I used Aunt Lydia's Fashion Crochet Cotton in Scarlet
                             Size B hook
                             Tapestry needle

Gauge: Not important in this project

Finished Size:

Stitches used:  Ch - chain, sc - single crochet, sl st - slip stitch, dc - double crochet, sp – space, dc3tog – double crochet 3 stitches together

Note:  Ch 3 at the beginning of a row counts as a dc throughout this pattern.

Ch 5, join with a sl st to form a ring.

R1:  ch 1, 9 sc in ring, join with a sl st in top of first sc.

R2:  Ch 3, 3 dc in same st as join, * 3 dc in next st.  Rep from *. Turn

R3:  Ch 3, dc in next st, ch 2, * dc in next st, ch 1.  Rep from * to the last 2 sts.  End ch 2, dc in dc, dc in top of ch 3 of prev row.  Turn.

R4:  Ch 3, dc in dc, ch 3, sc in ch 1 sp, * ch 3, sc in next ch 1 sp.  Rep from * across.  End ch 3, dc in dc, dc in top of ch 3 of prev row.  Turn

R5:  ch 3, dc in dc, ch 3, sk first ch 3 sp, * sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3.  Rep from * across skipping last ch 3 sp.  End ch 3, dc in dc, dc in top of ch 3 sp of prev row.  Turn

R6:  ch 3, dc in dc, ch 3, sk first ch 3 sp, * sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3.  Rep from * across skipping last ch 3 sp.  End ch 3, dc in dc, dc in top of ch 3 sp of prev row.  Turn

R7:  ch 3, dc in dc, ch 3, sk first ch 3 sp, * sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3.  Rep from * across skipping last ch 3 sp.  End ch 3, dc in dc, dc in top of ch 3 sp of prev row.  Turn

R8:  ch 3, dc in dc, ch 3, sk first ch 3 sp, * sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3.  Rep from * across skipping last ch 3 sp.  End ch 3, dc in dc, dc in top of ch 3 sp of prev row.  Turn

R9:  ch 3, dc in dc, ch 3, sk first ch 3 sp,  sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, dc in dc, dc in top of ch 3 sp of prev row.  Turn

R10:  ch 3, dc in dc, ch 3, dc in dc, dc in top of ch 3 of prev row.  Turn

R11:  ch 3, dc in next 2 sts, dc in top of ch 3 of prev row.  Turn

R12:  ch 3, dc3tog.  End off.

Turn upside down so the sc ring is at the top.  On the right side, sk 2 sc.  Join thread with a sl st in next sc.  Start with R2 from the other side and make the other half.

Again blocking with a shot of steam will help this to lie flat. 

You can embellish these as you see fit.  Just remember to keep beads away from the main body of the bookmark so as to not break the spines of the books these are sure to be used in.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

An idea for Christmas Crocheting

This idea came to me a few years ago.  I decided that our new house, which has a lot (every room at that point) of paneling, would look ever so nice with Christmas tree type garland around each doorway in the kitchen (2 doorways), living room (1 doorway) and hall hall (3 bedrooms, a bathroom, a closet and the double wide opening between the living room and kitchen/dining area) and the plain non-branching garland around the ceilings of the hall, living room and kitchen/dining area..  All this was put up using cup hooks that never left the walls unless the walls were removed.  Some have been since that time.  It did look nice.  It also looked rather dark with all that wood, dark green garland and doors closed to keep heat where we wanted it and pets out of the rooms.  To remedy this I decided to add white snow flakes to each garland around each doorway and around the ceilings.

Each branched garland was 9 feet long and I had the bright idea to put a flake every foot on each one (to help brighten the dark areas).  Each garland around the ceilings was 50 ft each.  I lost count of how many feet of this I put up each year.  Needless to say, I started crocheting snowflakes.  I gave myself a year to make them all.  I was hoping to have around 300 I think at one point.  I really have no idea how many ever did get made.  It was a bunch.

I collected patterns from the internet the summer of 2005.  I bought snowflake crochet pattern books when I found them.  I wanted one of each pattern.  After all, snowflakes in nature are all different, so mine had to be too.  There are very large 12 inch flakes on down to 1 inch flakes.  Some are beaded.  Most are not.  Most flakes I tried to keep in the 3 inch - 5 inch diameter range.  I still have the printouts in a 3 inch binder and the books.  I got a third of the way through them.  Some day I will go back to them.

The flakes when done look absolutely terrible until blocked and starched.  The terribleness could have something to do with me crunching them up to stuff into the cardboard tube in the center of the white mercerized cotton thread.  To get them in the shape I wanted, I took a piece of foam core board and made 6 pointed shapes on them 6 inches long.  I covered this in waxed paper.  Now I could soak my flakes in glue and pin them out.  Each flake to a shape with really small ones in the spaces in between.  I have tried differing strengths of glue to water ratios, from 1/2 and 1/2 to full glue (white school glue).  The half and half gives a nice starched appearance but doesn't really hold up.  Points started drooping.  The full glue, depending on the brand, would give a look of plastic to the flakes, but they held their shape.

If I find the pictures again, I will post them.  A computer malfunction wiped out a lot of my pictures, I think I had some of these printed off.  However, every year since I started this, the flakes and garlands go up first thing.  The cup hooks remain in most places year round and have tarnished so that they blend in with the darker wood paneling.  In places where walls have been replaced, we opted for lighter and brighter wall treatments and sadly the flakes don't show up on these walls.

The snowflakes would also make nice package ties, ornaments for the tree or jewelry if you use the very small ones.  Some people I have heard about leave the flakes in the unstiffened state and lay them on the branches.  You could even use them to embellish some everyday wardrobe items with either a few stitches on the points to hold them on or use some of the tacky quilting spray to hold them on for just a night.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Something for the readers in my family

For some reason most knitters and crocheters I know also read a lot.  I know I do.  One of the ideas that came to me today was bookmarks to tuck into a bestseller or topic specific book those on my list have been yearning for.  I'm thinking of thread lace crochet, hairpin lace, knitted lace, and possibly book jackets in some of the "standard" sizes of books.  This allows the reader to be left in peace with his or her book.  No one to question the choice of book or if your are into the new thriller, no one to spoil the whodunit.

Along this line would would also be an e-Reader sleeve to protect it from bumps and scratches.  I think a nice fair isle pattern that gets felted could be a good idea.

In looking through my patterns, books and magazines recently, I came across some interesting ideas.

Create a single crochet pineapple two pineapples long and put scallops along the edges.  Pattern for this will go up this weekend.  Pick any lace pattern either knit or crochet that is 6 to 12 stitches wide and work in size 10 thread with either a size 8 steel hook or size 0 knitting needles and work enough repeats for 6 inches.    Again a pattern for a knit idea and a pattern for a crochet idea will go up this weekend.  All of these will also have pictures.

For a book jacket or eReader sleeve, try these patterns from different yarn manufacturers.  Some nice ones are at lion brand and caron.

For the last two, put kindle in the search box.  There are a few for your viewing and stitching pleasure.

A selection of many different and fun bookmarks can be found at these sites.

For the last two, put kindle in the search box.  There are a many here also for your viewing and stitching pleasure.

If this isn't enough variation, go to and signup if you haven't already.  Once you are in, click the patterns tab and put in your search request.  No matter what I'm looking for there is always at least one pattern or project for me to see out there.

This should help with a few ideas for now.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Christmas in July continues

I've been giving some thought to this once again as I listen to podcasts from KnitPicks.  One episode was geared to what one book has patterns that would satisfy most if not all of your holiday knitting.  I think you would have to know what you are planning to do in the general for each person you are knitting for before you can start pinpointing patterns.  One of the people quizzed said that she kept her knitting for holidays simple.  Choose basic patterns that you can do easily but with enough variety to prevent boredom and let the yarns you choose carry the project.  Another people quizzed said that you should pick projects based on the recipients.  In other words don't give something lacy to a person who really only likes and wears tailored items, a bulky wool sweater to someone who lives in the tropics.  However, you can give finger-less mitts to people who work in offices that are not heated as warm as our homes or feel so due to the sedentary nature of their jobs.

Today's patterns are all about finger-less mitts and mittens.  You can choose patterns that use yarns as fine as fingering weight (sock yarn) on up to patterns that use super bulky.  They can be knit or crocheted.  Mittens are appreciated by almost everyone and they can keep your hands warmer than gloves by keeping the fingers bunched together.

Some choices for easy patterns would be   K   C   K   K   C   K   C

These are all from Red Heart.  However, they were chosen for being easy to knit or crochet and allowing the yarn to give emphasis to the mitts or mittens.  Any pattern you choose can be done in any yarn as long as you remember to check the gauge of the yarn recommended and match that up to the gauge of the yarn you want to use.  As your math skills get better you can pick any yarn  to go with any pattern.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day 2 for Christmas in July

In thinking of what all I want to make this year, I know I want to do slippers.  I always knit them.  I even made myself dpns to knit the early ones.  More on that adventure later.

The pattern is one from the site that has since been taken down.  This site back in the late 90's and early 2000 was a person who donated or collected donations of knit or crocheted slippers to send to sailors serving in the Middle East.  I enjoyed being able to donate a few pairs to help those serving in our military to know that we at home have not forgotten them.

These can be done in solid colors, stripes, 2 different colors together to make a tweedy effect.  You can put a flower or pompom on the top of the foot somewhere or another type of trinket.  Done in acrylic yarns they are easy care and since they are a quick knit, you can make a whole rainbow of colors.

Edited:  I did not remember the correct name of the website above.  The correct web address is  They have not been taken down.  There are a myriad of patterns on this site that are military approved for those who wish to contribute.  The patterns are just as welcome here at home as well.

Happy Fourth of July

Happy 4th!!  As I type this, I am listening to the remnants of the fireworks display.  The locals in charge of this do a nice job every year.  Kudos to them.

And now for my first link for the Christmas in July.  I had been thinking all day on what I wanted to do.  Should it be a stocking stuffer?  Slippers that could be considered boring but oh so warm on the cold floors?  Mittens?  Hats?  Scarves?  No, not scarves.  I have been scarf-ed out for now.  Mittens came up as a classic and good idea.

Here is the link to a general pair for knitting:  and for those who prefer crocheted mittens:  Download either or both patterns just to keep yourself entertained.  Both can be done in solid colors, variegated, or stripes.  You can adjust cuff length to keep arms warm inside coat sleeves or keep them shorter for coats that have the knit cuffs on the sleeves.  You can change up the fibers you use as well.  These are patterned for worsted weight yarns so they can go quick and keep your loved ones warm.

Christmas in July

I'm planning to do a link a day to something I think might be fun to knit or crochet for a Christmas present or two.  The links will mostly be items that are already out there but might have been overlooked.

I will also be figuring out what I'm doing for Christmas gifts this year and posting pictures of finished presents.  Things that will need to be done before all this knitting and crocheting?  Do I have the correct needles, hooks, knook, cro-hook for anticipated project?  Do I have enough yarn in the desired fiber and color?  If not, can I get more?  Will I need a complementary color?

Can I think of ways to keep presents from becoming covered in dog/cat fur?  What are the best ways to de-fur presents?  Will I have the stamina to complete big things in the dog days of August?

Let me know your thoughts on what you are planning?  Do you have ways to keep your projects free from "contaminants"?  For those allergic to animal dander, this could be of real interest.