Summer Sewing: Part 1

I have been sewing at a pretty frantic pace all summer… so frantic, in fact, that I completely forgot to blog about any of it. Over the next few weeks I’ll put out posts on the pieces I made this summer, hopefully catching up in order to do most of my fall work as it happens! First up is the bag I made for my boyfriend’s cousin’s wedding in San Antonio!

I found this long, green chiffon pleated dress that I LOVED but every bag I owned looked terrible with it. So I decided to make a beaded, crocheted one from scratch since I didn’t remember beading being that hard. Well it was very hard, and it took forever, but I was completely in love with the result!


The bag is beaded using a variety of E beads on cream colored size 10 crochet thread. The back and lining of the bag are “silky solids” cream fabric from Joann, with the back reinforced with some fusible interfacing.

I really regret not thinking carefully about the closure. I chose snaps, but those don’t work well for non-overlapping bag closures because things fall out! I should have put in a zipper, and I still might one day!


Little Crochet Snowflake Earrings

This post is moved from my original blog.

For Christmas I made the tiniest crochet snowflake earrings for my Mom and sister.  The pattern I used can be found here.  Please note it uses UK terms (if you read dc in UK terms, make a sc in US terms). The real challenge with these earrings isn’t the pattern, it’s working with tatting cotton.  I used a magnifying light to help me see and save my eyes.  I also stiffened them with some glue and water while I blocked them, and painted them with a light coat of sparkly nail polish to make them shimmer.

Irish Crochet Cross Bookmark

This post is moved from my original blog.

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted (a whole week) because it’s been way too long since I’ve had time to do any knitting or crochet!  Last weekend I finished this bookmark for my grandmother, and I had to wait to post it until it arrived so it would be a surprise!  She was thrilled, though I’m sure she would have been even more thrilled if it had been on time.  She taught me to crochet and knit when I was a child, so getting handmade presents has some additional meaning.

I didn’t create a pattern because I had to improvise a little, but maybe someday I’ll recreate it and write up what I did.

I used DMC’s Cordonnet in No 40, with a size 11 steel hook.

I started with a base chain that formed the shape of the cross.  When I had just started the second round it looked like this:

That is, it looked hilariously bad!
So after I finished the second round, I went ahead and blocked it to give it more shape and help me correctly assess the number of stitches I needed.
Before Blocking
After Blocking

The cross was starting to take shape!  I used a lot of tugging on the PC (padding cord) at this point to help the shape.

The next 2 rounds created this:

And with one more round of blocking, a flower for the center (from the Go-To Book for Irish Crochet), and the addition of a tassel, I finally arrived at my cross bookmark! I can not stress enough the importance of using padding cord in the second and last rounds.  It helped me create the cross shape when the yarn wasn’t stiff enough to do it by itself.

It was a very fulfilling design process because I had such a clear idea of what I wanted, but I had never made a bookmark.  Unlike my flower motifs, which are the product of moderate experience with making flowers, the cross had its beginnings in my imagination.

Cherry Blossom Motif

This post is moved from my original blog.

I’m designing an Irish Crochet piece (finally!!!)with cherry blossoms all over it, and I couldn’t find just the right flower motif to make it look right.  Let me be clear that were plenty of beautiful ones on Ravelry, they just weren’t what I was looking for: flatish, detailed and thread friendly. So I spent the afternoon designing my own!  As usual, I’m sharing the pattern (at bottom of page)

So here is a picture of real cherry blossoms for comparison (with source and permission of course!):

Spring in Somerville, NJ – 2012 File 3” by Siddharth Mallya – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Here is my first attempt with size 10 white thread (unknown brand) and DMC Tatting Cotton in plum for the center:

And my final pattern piece with DMC Cordonnet No 30 blanc and the same tatting thread in the center.

And because I love thread size comparisons, here’s one of those!

And finally, a picture of a rough concept for the final design.  I plan to create stems just overloaded with the little version of the flowers, just like real cherry trees! I’m also planning to design a separate motif for the buds so I can have a few of those as well.  Please excuse the wrinkled fabric I pinned it to.

Cherry Blossom Motif:

DMC Cordonnet No 30 in blanc
DMC USA Spécial Dentelles Size 80 in plum
size 11 steel hook
size 14 steel hook
needle for weaving in ends
with white No 30 thread and size 11 hook

round 1: 1ch, 10sc into a magic loop.  sl st into back loop only of 1st sc

round 2: (working in back loops only) 1ch, 1sc in same st, *2sc in next sc, 1sc in next sc* repeat to last sc, 2sc in last sc, sl st into back loop of 1st sc

round 3: *ch 7, sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next sc, hdc in next 2 ch, sc in last 2 ch, sl st to back loop of next sc from round 2, 1ch, turn to sc in last sc of petal, hdc in next st, dc in next 2 hdc, hdc in next st, sc in last st, 1ch, turn, 1sc in next 2st, hdc in next 2 st, sc in last 2 st, sl st to back loop of next sc from round 2,** sl st to next st* repeat 3 more times from *, then once more from * to **

round 4: *sl st into back of ch on petal from last round, 2sc in back of next sc from last round, 2hdc in back of each of next 3 st, 2sc in last back of st, 2sc together across row ends of last round, 2sc in next sc, 2hdc in each of next 3 st, 2sc in next st, sl st in next st.* repeat from * around, end with a sl st into first sl st of round. Fasten off, weave in ends.

To make center:
with plum No 80 thread and size 14 hook
Join pink yarn to innermost front loop with a sc.  *2ch, sc in next front loop* repeat around, working in a small spiral until you have one circle of pink.  sl st to complete circle, fasten off, weave in ends.

If you want a more textured center like on my bigger flower, start by attaching in the same spot, but then work (3ch, 1sc, 3ch, 1sc, 3ch) into each front loop around.

The Littlest Crochet Flower

This post is moved from my old blog, econoknits.

My Irish Crochet materials finally arrived!

From Top Left: DMC Cardonnet Special 30 in white, DMC Cardonnet Special 40 in white, DMC tatting cotton (size 80) in medium plum, Boye steel crochet hooks in sizes 7, 11, 12 and 14.

For anyone who’s not familiar with crochet thread sizes, the higher the number, the thinner the thread.  The same goes for the hooks, the higher the number, the smaller the hook!

The first thing I did was create a teeny tiny flower motif using the tatting cotton.

Yes, that’s my thumb!
For comparison, here it is next to a flower of extremely similar pattern (the big one has a few more stitches in each petal) where the big one is done in what I think is size 10 thread (it was just in my stash and I didn’t have a label).

It was much more difficult to crochet with the size 80 thread!  It was a welcome challenge though, as I haven’t felt challenged by the grab-the-yarn-and-pull-it-through process since I was a kid.

I had to adjust the pattern for the thread size (80) and hook size (14).  Here’s a pattern for those sizes of thread and hook, which is based on my tiny flower motif pattern (the bigger motif in the picture).  I realized that for these sizes, you didn’t need 25 double crochet in the initial loop, so it’s reduced to 20, and the rest of the pattern is appropriately scaled:

The Littlest Flower

8ch, sl st into first ch to form a loop
round 1: 3ch (count as 1 dc), 19dc into loop, sl st into top of 3 ch
round 2: 5ch, *skip 3 dc, sc in next dc, 4ch,* repeat inside * three more times, sl st into 1st ch at beginning of round
round 3: 1ch, (sc, hdc, 5dc, hdc, sc) in next ch space, repeat () 4 more times, sl st into ch at beginning of round
Fasten off, weave in ends. (or be lazy like I am and don’t)

Progress: Crochet Creche

This post is moved from my original blog.

I’ve been working on a project for my mom.  We picked out the yarn together last Christmas and the goal is for me to have it all crocheted by Thanksgiving so it can go up with the Christmas decorations right afterward.  You can find the pattern here.  (unfortunately due to copyright laws I can’t post a picture of what my project is supposed to look like)

I was surprised to start crocheting and realize the figurines are HUGE.  Well, they’re pretty big.  See below picture of my hand+donkey.

So far I’ve finished the donkey and baby Jesus, minus facial details.  I’m waiting on the details because they’re my weakness and I want to dedicate an entire day/afternoon to getting them perfect, not rushing to move on to the next piece.

Next up: Mary!

Irish Crochet Practice

This post is moved from my original blog.

I’ve been working on some “practice” Irish crochet motifs before my new thread and hooks come in next week.

First I tried some doily motif’s from a copy of The Harmony Guide to Crochet Stitches.  I don’t have a small enough hook yet, so they’re too loose, but getting used to working with thread instead of yarn was the most important goal. The motifs are called Mica and Floribunda.

Next I moved on to some free form crochet based on some pictures I’ve seen around on Irish crochet.  I ended up developing the patterns below for the tiny flower and the 3 petal flower (stem added in picture below).
For instructions on htc (half treble crochet) you can look here .
Tiny flower:
round 1: 8ch, join with sl st to first chain to form ring
round 2: 3ch, 24dc into ring, sl st to top of 3 ch
round 3: 6ch, skip 4 dc, sl st into next dc; repeat 3 more times, 6ch sl st into first ch

round 4: (1sc, 1hdc, 1dc, 7htr, 1dc, 1hdc, 1sc) into next 6ch space, repeat around, sl st into first sc, fasten off, weave in ends

Three-petal flower

Flower petal (make 3):
row 1: chain 10, turn
row 2: sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each chain across, 3ch, 1sc into back of chain, sc in back of each ch across, turn
row 3: 1ch, 1sc, 1 hdc, 1dc, 3htc, 1dc, 1hdc, 1sc, 3sc in 3ch space, 1sc, 1 hdc, 1dc, 3htc, 1dc, 1hdc, 1sc, sl st into ch at beginning of round, turn
row 4:  cut a piece of thread so that when folded in quarters, measures all the way around the petal. sl st to attach looped end of folded thread to working loop, do not turn.  1ch, work 2sc around the padding (folded thread) into each sc of last round, being sure to fully cover padding.  Sl st into first sc of round. Fasten off, weave in ends.

Flower center:

start with a magic loop for the center,
round 1: 9ch, sc in loop, 8ch, sc in loop, 8ch, sl st into first chain
round 2: 1ch, 16sc in each 8ch sp around, sl st to first sc
Fasten off, weave in ends.


14ch, sc in second ch from hook, sc in next 6ch, 2sc in next ch, sc in each ch to end
Fasten off, weave in ends.

Sew the three petals together so they overlap slightly. then sew the center to where the 3 petals meet, and finally sew the stem in the space where there is no petal.