Hats Off to You!

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It’s starting to get colder outside and that means time for hats and gloves!  Maybe even a scarf or shawl for those extra cold days.  Here in Maryland we’ve already had our first snow, which is unusual.  Does that mean we are going to have an extra-cold winter?  I don’t know, but if all the rain we got this year continues and turns into snow, we might be in trouble! (Ha-Ha or maybe that should be Ho-Ho)

My fingers have been busy with a crochet hook and yarn making lots and lots of hats. Below is a sample of some adult sized hats that I just posted to my Etsy shop, Marvelous Meous Crafts, and I will be posting more items this week.  Please visit the shop for details on these items, including pattern information.  Any of these items would make wonderful gifts for family or friends.

Hope you take the time to stop by.

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Floral Maze

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Photograph from Mijo Crochet.

 

I saw this beautiful Floral Maze crochet pattern from Mijo Crochet and can’t wait to get it started on my hook.  Now it’s time to go shopping in my stash for the yarn to use.  I have a number a beautiful variegated yarns, some hand dyed and some commercially made.  Look for a post on my yarn selection and work in progress.

Until then, happy hooking!

 

via Floral Maze

June’s Yarn Adventures

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Here are snaps of some of the crochet projects that I finished in June 2018.  I have other projects that were started and some that are in the works, but more on those later.

 

What did you have on your hook and needles last month?

Happy crafting!

Crochet Flag: Putting It All Together

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Today we will turn this pile of crochet parts – –

all_the_stripes[1]

Into this finished hanging – –

flag_on_door[2]

Previously, in creating our Crochet Flag Hanging, we did this Flying the Flag and then we did this A Stick and Some Stripes. Now we get to combine all of of our bits and pieces into this final, finished project.  Your project won’t look exactly like mine, and that is a good thing because is is yours!!

Step One (Optional):  Have your project pieces approved by your fur baby.

shadow_on_flag[1]

Shadow testing my work and giving her approval.

Step Two:  Lay out the pieces for assembly (Note:  the arrangement is actually face down).  The short stripes start and end with red along the edge of the blue Union field.

making_stripes[1]

The ends are not yet woven in as they are needed in the next step.

Step Three:  Working from the backside, sew your stripes onto the blue Union.  I only wove in one end, and kept the other end for this purpose.

flag_see[1]

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I worked from the edges of the Union towards the center to ensure semi-even spacing.  No measuring tools were used in this easy project.

Step Four:  To attach the long stripes to the flag, you will need a support piece (sorry, forgot to mention this earlier).  You may use a length of ribbon, or as I did, crochet a strip of foundation half-double crochet (fhdc).

flag4[1]

I attached with a slip stitches (ss), putting a chain between the ss for flexibility.

Step Five: After attaching the Union, continue with the stripes, beginning with white and alternating with red.

flag3[1]

Almost finished!

Step Six:  This is optional, but I decided to sew the first long white stripe to the Union for additional stability.

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First long white stripe attached part of the way down the Union

flag1[1]

Reversed, but looking good!

 

Step Seven:  Attach your completed flag to its hanger.

mod-podge.jpg What you do will vary.  You can sew your flag onto a stick or rod, use nails or clips, or as I did, some strong glue.  I chose to use Outdoor Mod Podge because there was some on-hand (no need to go and purchase any supplies – YES!!).  Make sure you are applying any adhesive to the FRONT side of your flag along the top vertical ribbon and don’t be stingy with the glue.  Your hanging stick will be on top of the flag.  Please make sure that the blue Union is to the LEFT.

Glued to Stick

twine

 

Step Eight:  If using a liquid adhesive, be sure to check dry times.  I allowed about 24 hours to be on the save side.  Turn flag to right side, Union will be on the left and attach string or other hanging device as needed.  I used twine, from a dollar store, that was left over from a prior project.

 

Step Nine:   Your flag is now ready for display.

Adding String

Ready for display!

 

Step Ten:  Take some pics and share your talents and patriotism with others!  Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

flag on door vivid

A Stick and Some Stripes

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Continuing a Patriotic Wall Hanging

Once you’ve decided on a stitch pattern for the Union (blue part of flag) you will also need to make the stripes and obtain a stick for hanging.  This is your project, so be creative and make it your own!

For my hanging stick, I took a walk outside and found a nice sized tree branch (no living trees were harmed in the making of this project).  Since the branch had been on the ground for a while, I washed and scrubbed it well then put in the lowest setting of my oven to dry and clean by heating the wood through.  My stick isn’t perfect, it has some bends and cracks and knotty parts, which makes me like it all the more.

stick

Carry a big stick and a bigger cup of coffee!

If you don’t care for the “rustic natural” look of a branch you could also use a dowel rod, broom handle, clothes hanger – the type with clips (or not).  Anything that will suspend the hanging will work!  I have a piece of copper tubing from another project, and I could use that (I just now remembered that I have the unused length stashed in my craft room).

Now that we have part of the display covered, it’s onto the STRIPES!!  If you weren’t good in history, the American flag has 13 stripes that represent the original 13 colonies. I decided to follow the standard U.S. flag.  Which means I will need the following:

  • Four short red stripes
  • Three short white stripes
  • Three long red stripes
  • Three long white stripes

For my hanging, I decided to use three different stitch patterns to make one of each of the standard stripes as noted above.

stripes1

A fourth pattern will be needed for the additional short red stripe, or repeat another pattern.  My long stripes are roughly twice as long as the short, but I did not measure the stripes or count rows.  If they come out a little uneven, that will just add to the charm of the project.

This project is representational art so go with what works for you.  If you really need everything to be exact, then measure and count away.  Want more or less stripes, not a problem – – this is your project (which is why I’m not writing a pattern just giving a general project outline).

I’m still working on my stripes, but this is what I have finished so far – –

making stripes_resized

Up next: Assembly and Display

Happy Crafting!

The Right Tools

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Any person who works with their hands knows that proper tools are essential.  Whether you are an artist, carpenter, mechanic, crafter, chef, surgeon – this list could go on forever – using tools that are comfortable for you and that fit the job are essential.

When I first started to crochet, I purchased inexpensive plastic hooks. These worked okay, although I did manage to break a few.  Hubby, being ever so helpful and economic attempted to mend these, needless to so that did not work out very well.  On to slightly more expensive aluminum hooks.

The metal hooks worked out well, although my hand would get tired after crocheting for an extended period of time.  It was while using these aluminum hooks that I discovered my preference for a tapered hook.  Below is an image from Planet June, that illustrates the differences between an in-line hook, such as Bates, and a tapered style.

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After trying plastic and metal, I gave wood and bamboo hooks a try. I found these hooks beautiful and they felt very comfortable in my hand.  A downside to these hooks is that not all fibers were compatible with this hook material.  Some yarns would “hang-up” on the hook, thus interrupting the rhythm of stitching.  Another negative was that my cats loved to chew on them!  A chewed hook can really cause your yarn to snag.  Ha-ha!

I continued to explore other options and read comments from other hookers about the merits of different hook brands.  Two brands that frequently popped up in the discussions were the Addi Swing and Clover Amour.  These are just two styles that have a soft handle.

 

While the Addi Swing is beautiful and ergonomically designed, it was a bit pricey and outside of my budget.  So, ventured into my local craft shop and I purchased two Clover Amour hooks in the sizes H & I.

What a difference the soft handles made!  I found that I could crochet all day long – well almost.  Another plus for me was that the Amour hook had a the tapered head which I favored.  After a few weeks, and of course researching the best price, I took the plunge and purchased a set of the Amour hooks.

However, my hook adventure does not end here.  One set of hooks is never enough for any serious hooker who tends to keep hooks used with works in progress (WIPs).  For me that meant I was always searching for the hook I needed to start a new (short term) project while working on longer projects.  And of course since I love participating in Crochet Alongs (CALs) I always have multiple extended projects in the works.  One of the most recent being the Cosmic CAL by the amazing designer Helen Shrimpton of Crystal and Crochet. But that is another post!

Cosmic CAL

Cosmic CAL – Parts 1 – 4

Back to crochet hooks.  It was my need for a size 7 or 4.5mm hook that led to my initial discovery of Athena’s Elements.  This is not a standard U.S. size and is not always easy to find in a local shop.  Thank goodness for on-line shopping. 🙂  Since I need multiple hooks in the same sizes, I am always looking for a good product at a fair price, and I found what I needed at a popular on-line shopping resource.

Recently, I was again getting frustrated, because the hooks I needed for a project were not available.  I have hook markers, but find that there can be a slight variation in hooks between different manufacturers, so I prefer to keep my hook with the project.  Which means that I need – – you got it – – multiple hooks.  Making the decision that I was going to purchase another set of hooks, the research commenced.  I already had an idea of what I wanted, but wanted to make sure I was getting the best price.

Athena Hooks 1

The hook set offered by Athena’s Elements fit my needs perfectly.  The set had 12 hooks in US sizes B – L ( 2.25mm – 8.00mm), the head was tapered, had a long shaft and a soft handle.  As a plus, you never have to guess about the size of the hook because they are marked with the U.S. alpha and numeric size, plus the metric size.  What more could this or any crocheter want!?!  I placed my order on Amazon on May 29, 2018 and they package was delivered this morning, May 31, 2018.  My happiness with these hooks prompted this rather lengthy post!  Best of all, these hooks are currently on sale at Amazon.

‘Til next time, happy crafting – –

Mandala from Millan

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I love mandalas!  Love the colors. Love the designs.

There is a spiritual aspect to mandalas that draws me to them. Perhaps it is the repeating design in a never ending circle. Or, the way one’s eye is drawn from the center outward to the edges and beyond. They are labyrinths of yarn that encourage visual meditation.

I have collected more mandala patterns than I could possibly ever make and must have a dozen books of designs and crochet instructions to make mandalas of all sizes. Even when planning a new project, I am often drawn to patterns begin with a circle.  Today,  I again saw this pattern, and being very happy to see it now in English, I thought to share it here.  No doubt this will be on my hook very soon.

Enjoy and Happy Crafting –

Winter Mandala

Photo from Crochet Millan

via Winter Mandala / English Pattern