Monday, July 28, 2014

Introducing the Lucky Wristlet

Introducing the Lucky Wristlet!
» read full post

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Tutorial: Make a Ribbon Strap for the Lucky Wristlet

This is the photo tutorial for making a  Ribbon Strap for the Lucky Wristlet.
» read full post

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Tutorial: Crochet a Lucky Wristlet

This is the photo tutorial for crocheting my Lucky Wristlet pattern.

» read full post

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wristlet Pattern Coming

I've been finishing up the photo shoots for all the wristlet tutorials I need to do to accompany the pattern release.
» read full post

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Valentine's Day Crochet

It's that time of year again!  For any of you that like to do schmoopy things around Valentine's Day, my Crochet Heart Scarf is a quick project that is also cute!
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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Baby Blanket with 100% More Baby

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Another Water Crochet Swatch

I've been working at it and working at it!
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Water Blanket Swatches

I'm still working to discover a water-like stitch pattern for the water blanket.  I pulled out my CD of Japanese Patterns to see if there was any inspiration to be had.  Well, of course there was!
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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Picking a Baby Blanket Size

The blanket is done!  I've been promised photos of little Baby P on the blanket, once he arrives.  I'll post those as soon as I get them.  I will also be getting photos of the blanket in the nursery with all the linens, wall decals, etc in place.  I can't wait to see it in it's new home.
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Monday, October 07, 2013

Baby Blanket Edging

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Half-way Through The Baby Blanket

Sorry for the crap cell phone photo, but this is just a quick update.
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Friday, September 06, 2013

Pepperonio's Baby Blanket - The Details

If you read my blog regularly, you know I end up writing world's longest posts a lot of the time.  In fact, I showed the almost-a-papa yesterday's post and he said, "Is all of that one post?  Why is it so long?"  I can't help it.  I get talking to you and I find that I have so much to say.
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Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Pepperonio's Baby Blanket

I'm so excited about this project!  Here's the story ...  I have a co-worker whose Italian grandmother crochets everyone in the family a blanket.  Get born = blanket.  Get married = blanket.  You get the idea.  My co-worker's wife is pregnant.  When he told Grandma about the forthcoming bundle of joy, she was happy, but apologized that she wouldn't be able to make a blanket for the baby because her hands just can't do it anymore.
» read full post

Friday, July 12, 2013

Water Crochet

I want to make a blanket for Andrew.  He needs a new blanket and I love the idea of him sleeping under something I made.  I proposed the idea that I'd make something that looks like some of his water photos.
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Friday, January 25, 2013

Crochet Heart Scarf

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Oh My God, You Killed Pikachu

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Starling Handbag Pattern Now Available in Italian

I can now offer the Starling Handbag pattern in Italian.  The translation was completed by crafteemom (crafteemom on ravelry), who volunteered her time.  I've updated the Starling Handbag Ravelry page and my free downloads page to include the new version.
» read full post

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cowl Designs

I'm making a cowl for a friend and I have been messing around to come up with a design.  I really did try to find a pattern to follow, but every time I picked a pattern, I changed it a little ... or a lot.  Eventually I just did my own thing.  Surprise!
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Thursday, March 08, 2012

Perrin's Starling - Part 6: Finished!

You've seen me making this purse along the way, so there's not much to say now except ... hooray!  We had an unbelievably nice day last Sunday when I took these photos.  I felt like I was getting sunburned!  It was 75 degrees out.  Insanity for around here.
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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Purple Stripe Sweater - Update 6: Actual Steek

... and then it was time to steek the real sweater!
» read full post

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Purple Stripe Sweater - Update 5: Swatching the Steek and Ribbing

I wanted to steek the front edges of my sweater to allow me to cut off the myriad of ends the stripes left.  I was a little worried though, so I swatched the whole thing.  As hilarious as it sounds, at times like this, I feel like a master painter making a detail practice painting ...  it's the same kind of thing, right?  Practice makes perfect. ;)
» read full post

Monday, February 13, 2012

Crochet Heart Scarf - Free Pattern

You may have already seen this over on CRAFT Magazine's site, but just in case you didn't, I designed a crochet pattern for them ... this cute crochet heart scarf.
» read full post

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Perrin's Starling - Part 3: Starting the Lining

I have a little progress to report on Perrin's Starling ... and a little is better than nothing.  Baby steps, baby steps.
» read full post

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

My First Granny Square Afghan

When I was three my mother taught me how to crochet.  I picked a pattern out of a magazine and we went to the store together to pick out the yarn.  I remember that I felt a huge sense of accomplishment when the blanket was finished.
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Perrin's Starling - Part 1: Blocking a Starling Handbag

Now that I'm done with the Fennec Fox, I've picked my new featured craft project, Perrin's Starling Handbag.  I got to know Perrin through my site.  Instantly, I could tell she was the kind of direct, open, and passionate person that I get along with.   I just love Perrin. :)
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dreaming of Snuggles

A couple weeks ago when I was sick, I spent a crazy amount of time in bed.  At a certain point, I just couldn't sleep anymore, and I ended up sitting on the couch with a bucket of leftover yarn making swatches.
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Monday, August 15, 2011

Peacock Sweater - Done Done Done

The peacock sweater is finally done done done!
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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Blocking the Peacock Sweater

It's been three years and a month since I started fantasizing about making a sweater from this yarn in this stitch pattern.
» read full post

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Clown Sweater Construction Details

Get ready to learn more information about the construction of a mini clown sweater than any one human should know.
» read full post

Friday, April 01, 2011

Tunisian Crochet Purse Wrap Up, Part 3

In this, the final installment of the Tunisian Stripe Bag wrap up, I sew on the buttons.
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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tunisian Crochet Purse Wrap Up, Part 2

I really enjoyed making the Tunisian Stripe Bag.  If only she also had a warning for futuregirls, "It's probably not the best idea to make every single row a different color when you're not so keen on weaving in ends."
» read full post

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Hex Tote Video Crochet-A-Long - Episode 6

Episode 6 - Finishing touches: three rows of single crochet at the top of the bag and attaching the granny straps.  Click through to the post to get more info and links to helpful tutorials.
» read full post

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Hex Tote Video Crochet-A-Long - Episode 5

Episode 5 - Row 4 of a half hex motif when you join it to the tote.  Click through to the post to get more info and a crochet chart.
» read full post

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Hex Tote Video Crochet-A-Long - Episode 4

Episode 4 - The first three rows of a half hex motif.  Click through to the post to get more info and a crochet chart.
» read full post

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tunisian Crochet Purse Wrap Up, Part 1

I recently unearthed my Tunisian crochet purse  (from a pattern) and put the finishing touches on it.  The first thing I wanted to do is fix the curl on the front opening of the bag.
» read full post

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Hex Tote Video Crochet-A-Long - Episode 3

Episode 3 - How to join a corner hex.  Click through to the post to get more info and a crochet chart.
» read full post

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Decreases Up Close

There were some great questions in the comments of yesterday's post, so I thought I'd give you all some more info about the decreases and some close ups.
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Monday, March 07, 2011

You'll Want To Sit Down First

I reworked the Peacock Sweater bust decreases. Again.
» read full post

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Hex Tote Video Crochet-A-Long - Episode 2

Episode 2 - How to crochet row 4 of a hex motif and how to join as you go. Click through to the post to get more info and some crochet charts.
» read full post

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Picked Up The Peacock Sweater

Oh, man. I just checked and I haven't worked on the Peacock Sweater since last September.  And if you knew the whole truth about how many times I've made and remade and remade this sweater, you wouldn't blame me one bit.
» read full post

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Hex Tote Video Crochet-A-Long - Episode 1

Episode 1 - The first three rows of a hex motif. Make 26 to start The Hex Tote.  Click through to the post to get more info and a crochet chart.
» read full post

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Chair Cover Details, Part 2

So now we get to the mechanics of attaching knitted and crocheted rectangles to curving chairs.  I didn't plan ahead.  I figured I'd come up with something.
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Monday, February 07, 2011

Chair Cover Details, Part 1

This post explains the yarn, needles, hook, and design process for my office chair covers.
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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Ta Da! Recovered Office Chairs

I reveal my awesome knitted and crocheted office chair covers.
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Saturday, January 01, 2011

How To Make Granny Straps

These are the straps I designed for the secret hex bag.
» read full post

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Blocking The Tunisian Crochet Purse

My train ride to Korallin's house was an hour each way, which was awesome for crocheting.  I finished up the purse body for my tunisian purse.
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Crochet Wrapping

I'm going to spend time with my friend Korallin tomorrow.  I got her family a little something.  Since I don't celebrate Christmas, I don't have a stash of appropriate wrapping paper on hand, so I crocheted some.
» read full post

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Secret Hex Bag Project

I've been teasing you with photos of this secret project forever-and-a-day, and now it can finally be revealed ...
» read full post

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Knitted & Crocheted Chair Covers

When I saw the photo of the color stripes in my first post about the knitted chair covers, I noticed something that really got under my skin: accidental red-white-blue.
» read full post

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Bright Stripe Purse

I started another project!  Believe it or not, it's a crochet project.
» read full post

Friday, October 22, 2010

Less-Crazy Phone Cozy

I have started a less-crazy phone cozy.  One of the color knitting techniques I've read about is doing two color stripes in a continuous spiral so there are no row-changes between colors.
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

6-Color Rainbow Spiral Market Bag

I still need to weave in the ends and go get some produce to take some beauty shots of my 6-Color Rainbow Spiral Market Bag.  But why not tease you with some close-up photos?
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Crochet Handles

These crochet handles are for a secret project, so I can't say much about them except, "Scrumptous!"
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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Color Crochet

In a moment of frustration with the color knitting, I realized that the crazy phone cozy would be easier (oh, so much easier!) in crochet.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Loving The Ugly

Ever since I figured out how to do the crochet loop stitch, I've wanted to use it on a project ... like REALLY wanted to use it on a project.
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Patons Grace Wash Test

When I bought this yarn, I was in love with the color, and I told myself that it was no big deal that it was hand wash only.
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Peacock Sweater Version 3.2

So I dialed down the puffy sleeves by starting with fewer motifs at the top of the shoulder and increasing as I work subsequent rows.
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Peacock Sweater Version 3.1

I've been feeling super focused and sort of hermit-y the last couple of weeks.  I've restarted the peacock sweater several times since the last post.
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Micro-Mini Sweater

Not really a micro-mini sweater (nor a micro mini kilt ... of plaid).  Peacock Sweater 2.0 is looking rad.
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Friday, August 20, 2010

Stunt Crocheting: Six-Color Spiral

The other night I had a flash of an idea for making a market bag.  I scribbled down some notes before I fell asleep.  I got a chance to try things out at craft night.
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Monday, August 16, 2010

... In Which I Learn The Value Of Blocking

I've completely frogged the peacock sweater and started all over again.  Meaning, for the five-bazillionth time.  And somehow, I'm as excited as I was the first time.
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Friday, August 06, 2010

Super Secret Crochet Sneak Peek

Proof that I still crochet.  This is all I can show you without giving you super-secret security clearance.  And a badge.  Ooo, I want a security clearance badge.
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mending Pile - Scarf Enshortening

Andrew loves this scarf.  It's too long, but he wears it anyway, which is a testament to just how much he loves it.  For a long time (omg, it's been *years*) I've been saying, "I can make it shorter."  But now that I can knit, I thought I'd actually tackle this project.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Starling Handbag Video Crochet-A-Long - Episode 5

Episode 5 covers handles of the Starling Handbag.

Here is the foundation single crochet bridge tutorial.

When you're done I have a tutorial for sewing a fabric lining and sewing that lining into your bag.
» read full post

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Starling Handbag Video Crochet-A-Long - Episode 4

Episode 4 covers side rows of the Starling Handbag.
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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Starling Handbag Video Crochet-A-Long - Episode 3

Episode 3 covers the bottom row3 and beyond of the Starling Handbag. Be thankful I hadn't lined up any jokes for this one. ;)
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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Starling Handbag Video Crochet-A-Long - Episode 2

Episode 2 covers the bottom row 2 of the Starling Handbag.
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Starling Handbag Video Crochet-A-Long - Episode 1

Episode 1 covers the foundation row and the first row of the Starling Handbag.

Download the Starling Handbag crochet pattern for free.

Learn foundation single crochet (video and photo tutorial).

Here are all of the Starling Crochet-A-Long videos.
» read full post

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Anyone that Know English and Thai?

... and knows how to crochet?  I have a sweet reader that has a question about the Starling Handbag pattern.  Let me know if you can help. :)
» read full post

Friday, June 11, 2010

Even More Thread Crochet

Can't stop with the thread crochet.  Or the macro photos.
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Monday, June 07, 2010

More Thread Crochet

Now that I have more time to craft,  I've got thread crochet on the brain.  Friday night as I was falling asleep I got a novel idea for overskirt construction.  I was unbelievably comfortable and it was unbelievably late, but I *still* got up and made a note because I didn't want to forget!
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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Victorian Crochet

OK.  So normally I'd do a bunch of internet research to get my facts straight ... but this isn't normally, so I'm just going to say some stuff and hopefully it's true.  In Victorian Times, crochet was a big deal and everyone thought it was awesome (this is the part I might be making up).
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Name Tag To Prove It

My long-time blog-friend Tanya of More Than Blue surprised me with these awesome name tags right after I posted about my Total Crochet Badassery.  It's taken me forever-and-a-day to get photos taken.  Thanks, Tanya!  I love them!
» read full post

Monday, March 08, 2010

Craft Bar

I made plans with a friend to go to Craft Bar last Thursday.  In between making plans to go and the big night, I got an email from a wonderful woman with the Museum because she saw my post about Open Source Embroidery.  She thanked me for my post invited me to Craft Bar.  And I said, "Oh, yeah, I'll be there!"
» read full post

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Spanish Starling Help

I've been getting emails from a woman who has questions about the Starling Handbag.  The problem is she doesn't know English very well, and I don't know Spanish very well.  If you know Spanish and English and can answer questions about the Starling Handbag pattern, or translate her crochet questions for me and my answers for her, we'd both really appreciate it!
» read full post

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Say, "Sleeeeve"

In the War between Blogging and Crafting, Crafting has been kicking Blogging's ass.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Alice Merlino, FSC Ph.D

When I posed Adventures in Neckdom, I asked if anyone knew a standard way to join an fsc chain to another piece of crochet because my connector row was just sorta floating out there.
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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Did You Sleep ALL Day?

Hello!  Cassidy!  Are you *still* in bed?!  Did you sleep ALL day long?  You know, you had something important to do this morning ...
» read full post

Friday, January 29, 2010

'Hog Along Pieces-Parts

I finished up all my 'hog parts last night for the Groundhog-along.  I only have a couple more days to finish it up!
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Total Crochet Badassery

Most of the time, I want to be a nurturing, encouraging craft blogger.  I want to present things in a way that demystifies the process.  I want you to think that you can do any of the things that I do here (and you can!  really!).  I hope this comes across here, on my blog.  I hope you see I'm a person, just like you.

Except for the next few moments ...
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Saturday, January 16, 2010


Look what people made with my patterns ...
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Peacock Sweater - Planning The Pattern

I decided to use the 4.5mm hook for the peacock sweater.  That's also the size I use to make my Starling Handbags. It seems I have a preference for the 4.5mm hook.  Maybe it's my lucky hook?
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Peacock Sweater

There are a million-and-one crafty things I want to be doing RIGHT THIS MINUTE, but I haven't been able to stop thinking about, planning, and starting another project:  the Peacock Sweater.
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Monday, December 28, 2009

Almost Enough Yarn

Almost!  My plan to use an open stitch to finish the cardigan almost worked.  Here's how it all went down.
» read full post

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Maximizing Yarn

I did some swatch tests with a fixed length of yarn to see what stitch pattern gives me the most bang for the yard.  I'm going to rip out the body of my cardigan and redo it in a get-more-coverage stitch.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In Which I Run Out Of Yarn

This is where the text should go.
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Crochet Sweater Schematics And Calculations

Looking at all these notes together brings Wile E. Coyote to mind.  Here are most of my notes, sketches, calculations, math, and missteps.  Enjoy!
» read full post

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Crochet Sweater Desgn Process

OMG.  I've been crocheting my fingers to the bone working on my sweater and loving every minute of it.  I think I've crocheted and frogged and crocheted and frogged and crochet and frogged enough to make 14 sweaters.  I've been learning so much about what I like and don't like.
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sweater Fail Train

I can't stop the "trying to make a sweater" train, so I'm just going with it ... doomed or no.  I was all ready to give up, but then Ellen B. suggested crocheting in the back loops only.
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sweater Obsession

It's sorta nuts how much I want to make myself a sweater.  It's been getting a little chilly here at night and I was thinking that a little sweater would be nice.  I really love Ponchi, but he's in storage.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Plastic Twine Flowers

So here is the fancy-dancy idea I came up with ... plastic flowers!
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Crocheting With Plastic Twine

Crocheting with plastic twine was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Treasure From Chinatown

Thread crocheting is pretty slow-going, so I was thinking of breaking down and buying some yarn ... but then I remembered the colorful plastic twine I'd seen in Chinatown.
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More Thread Crochet

I had to fix a shirt-hole, which required white thread.  The only white thread I could find at that time of night was a sewing kit from the drugstore, which came with mini spools of assorted colors.
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Sunday, November 08, 2009

I Spent Money On Crafting

When I was getting ready for the move, I set aside my crochet hooks, some stitch markers, scissors, some needles, and a couple other little tools.  I figured I'd decide what raw materials to take later.
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Baby Alpaca Hat

A couple years ago Andrew gave me some baby alpaca yarn for my birthday.  I used a good chunk of it on a hat and scarf, but the rest I've been hoarding.  I had one ball of cream left that is a great match for a scarf I have, so I decided to make a matching hat.
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Monday, September 14, 2009

Flower Purse 2 - Update 4

I'm working on the handles now.
» read full post

Monday, September 07, 2009


Here's my little lion from Super-Cute Crochet.  Amigurumi is so quick and fun.  An easy way to use tiny amounts of yarn.
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Monday, August 31, 2009

Flower Purse 2 - Update 3

Speed. Of. Light.  All the flowers are done.  All the brown connectors are done.
» read full post

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Flower Purse 2 - Update 2

Just eight more flowers to add to the last row.  I already have their centers done.  Whoosh!  I hope this project keeps flying!
» read full post

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Flower Purse 2 - Update 1

Someone just commented that they missed my update-y posts from when I was making the first flower purse.  Well, your wish is my command ... ;)
» read full post

Monday, July 06, 2009

New Flower Purse

I found my yarn and a little time to crochet over the weekend.
» read full post

Sunday, June 14, 2009

FSC - Are You Curling?

When I was first learning foundation single crochet (fsc), I found that I made the chain part of the stitch very tightly.  This is because I wasn't pushing my hook through the loops all the way; I was just using the tip.  When the chain part is tight, your fsc row will start to curve in on itself.
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Friday, June 05, 2009

Tutorial: Foundation Single Crochet - Supplement

This is a supplement to the original foundation single crochet tutorial.  Here I show you how to make a foundation single crochet bridge in the middle of your work.  I first used this when making the Icelandic Turtleneck for the arm holes.  I also use it to make the handles on my handbags.
» read full post

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Alice's Fingers In HD Blog

Around the time I posted the foundation single crochet tutorial, some coworkers went to my blog for the first time.  One of them commented that instead of calling my blog "futuregirl" I should call it "Alice's Fingers In HD Blog."  Ha!  I guess when you have no idea what the fingers are doing, you'd focus on them instead of the crochet they are holding.
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Monday, May 18, 2009


I think part of the reason I'm jonesin for new craft supplies is that I've spent a couple weeks of crochet time working on a new purse design and it's going  BADLY.
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Friday, May 15, 2009

Crochet Pattern - Update 4

The feedback has started to come in from my wonderful (and patient) pattern testers ... and the feedback is phenomenal!  They have some of the best ideas for making my pattern clearer, easier to follow, and, erm, typo-free. ;)
» read full post

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Chain Mail Proof

First, I want to say that all the chain mail jokes made in my apartment are hilarious, and the best ones involve some sort of reference to the Ren Faire and leave me in giggles.  Plus, he has a point.  Crochet garments usually *do* look a lot like chain mail.
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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Icelandic Turtleneck Is A No Go

I've been holding on to THREE photoshoots' worth of photos during the crocheting of my icelandic turtleneck (7/2008, 10/2008, and 12/2008).  I've considered doing a series of posts to go through all the things I learned and mistakes I made ... and, you know, it's just not happening.
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dice Buttons

I wore three of the adorable dice buttons today.  I don't wear pins nearly enough.  It made my tired, old brown shirt feel like a brand new outfit.  That's probably something all you girly-girls already know ... the power of accessories.
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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Crochet Pattern - Update 3

This post could be subtitled, Adventures In Hypocrisy.  I've been thinking about releasing this pattern and then releasing subsequent upgrades as I get feedback from you, and I thought, "Hey, why not do a beta release?"
» read full post

Friday, April 17, 2009

Crochet Pattern - Update 2

I'm so excited that you are so excited about the pattern!  I have 114 un-replied-to comments waiting patiently in my inbox.  I have the best of intentions to reply to them ... although I'm not sure I'll get to it soon.  You guys have the best ideas and the best suggestions!
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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Flower Purse Closure

I've been wanting to add a closure of some sort to my flower bag because when I set it down, it opens up wide.
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Thursday, April 09, 2009

What's In A Name?

The response has been overwhelming.  I'll be starting with the handbag pattern.  I've already started on the pattern testing, as some details need to be worked out before I can start writing the pattern.  One of those details is the name of the handbag.

What should I name the handbag pattern?
» read full post

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Flower Purse Out And About

This weekend I took my Flower Purse out and about.  Sunday we went to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Philadelphia's beautiful Fairmont Park.  Very few of the cherry trees had actually bloomed, but it was a beautiful day to be out in the park regardless.
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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Crochet Pattern - Update 1

I'm going to document the process of publishing my first crochet pattern here.  Yay!  Along the way I'll be asking for your input, critiques, and encouragement.  I'm not sure how long this is going to take, so please be patient with me. :)
» read full post

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tutorial: Foundation Single Crochet

This foundation single crochet tutorial is broken down by each teeny-tiny step.  When I first attempted to learn this technique from a magazine, I had pretty good illustrations to go by, but I was still totally confused by the whole thing.  It took me 3 or 4 tries over a couple of months to even feel confident that I was doing this correctly.
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Friday, March 20, 2009

Foundation Single Crochet Samples

I'm preparing to write a foundation single crochet tutorial for the blog.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with foundation single crochet, it's the act of creating a row of chain and single crochet all at once to use as a foundation for more rows.  It replaces the initial chain that starts most projects.
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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ponchi: The Poncho With No Name

So I've named the poncho "Ponchi: The Poncho With No Name."  It started with nancymoo who mentioned Clint Eastwood in the comments, which got us thinking about his Spaghetti Westerns where he was the character known as the man with no name.  At first it was just going to be "the poncho with no name," but we've been several movies lately (and this and this)  that have kooky names with colons in them so we thought it would be funny to actually *name* the poncho and call it the poncho with no name.
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Sunday, March 08, 2009

WTF Poncho

"Poncho" is one of a group of words that really makes my skin crawl.  It just rubs me the wrong way.  I think that's why I haven't mentioned the (ugh!) poncho I've been working on for the last 3-4 weeks.
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Friday, March 06, 2009

Vintage Japanese Craft Book - Post 5

About the joined-motif projects in the book.
» read full post

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Vintage Japanese Craft Book - Post 4

Some of the ugly, goofy, and easily-make-funnable projects in the book.
» read full post

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Vintage Japanese Craft Book - Post 3

Handbags handbags handbags!
» read full post

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Peacocky Square

I couldn't resist whipping up one of the peacock-like squares I mentioned in last post.  Front on the left, back on the right.
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Monday, March 02, 2009

Vintage Japanese Craft Book - Post 2

I highlight some little-used techniques that I found in the book.
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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Vintage Japanese Craft Book - Post 1

Mimi found this Japanese craft book (or maybe it's a magazine?) from 1966.  She gave it to Diane when she was in Portland.  Mimi told Diane that she thought that either Diane or I would really love it.  Diane sent it to me.

This installment talks about the front and back cover and the diagrams.
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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Flower Purse - Update 17

I've been sorta avoiding this post ... because I just don't know what to say.  Well I guess there's one thing to say ...

I'm done!
» read full post

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Flower Purse - Update 14

The part that had me worried in regard to the purse lining were the pleats.  As I showed you in my test pleat post, putting all the slack in one big pleat really constricts the opening.  Using what I learned from the test pleats, I decided to do four sets of sort-of-evenly-spaced pleats.
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Craft Identification FAIL

I don't feel like taking the time to actually submit it to fail blog.  No one but us would probably get it anyway ... right? ;)
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Flower Purse - Update 13

I've been avoiding the lining because I didn't feel like I was ready to tackle it.  Yesterday I decided to just jump in and I got so much done that I'm going to have to split it up into several posts this week.  I'm getting close to finishing it, but there's still much to do.
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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tutorial: Seamless Single Crochet, Even Better

This way to do seamless single crochet is way-better than my original single crochet tutorial, especially if you're doing color changes.  Why?  Because it's simpler, the color changes are cleaner looking, and there are no complicated stitch depths involved. I posted a comparison of the two techniques if you'd like to see the differences.   Even a newbie will be able to follow this tutorial.
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Friday, January 16, 2009

Scarfing & CraftyPod

The other night (actually now a week and a half ago ...) I heard this pink yarn* calling to me.  I dug it out of my stash, flipped through all my pattern books, and decided to make a simple filet crochet checkerboard scarf.
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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Flower Purse - Update 12

I've been playing around with the lining.  The fabric I'm going to be using is patterned, so I'm going to need a cream outer layer and the patterned inner layer.  I don't want the patterns showing through in between the flowers.  For messing around, I've made a test lining from a crappy old sheet that I keep around just for this purpose.
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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

You Had Me At "Wood Grain Crochet"

Wood grain crochet.  My life is complete.
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Flower Purse - Update 11

I was *this close* to "finishing up the folding over and sewing of the handles" and something started bothering me.  The cord was making the right and left edge bow out more than I liked.  See it on the left?  I didn't want my purse to gape open like that.  I want it to lay closed more flatly, like on the right.
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tutorial: Weaving In the Last End

I encountered this technique in Creepy Cute Crochet and the Flower Purse is my first opportunity to use it.
» read full post

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Flower Purse - Update 10

OK, I'm to the part in this project where I normally set it aside and never finish it.  Not because I don't want to, or I'm bored of it, but because the tasks ahead require thoughtfulness and chunks of time for execution.  The crochet part is easy because I can fit that in 3 minutes at a time.  But finishing the handles and sewing the lining is a whole other story.
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Revisiting Seamless Single Crochet

There has been no progress on the flower purse since the last update, but a discussion of seamless single crochet is in order.
» read full post

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Flower Purse - Update 9.5

I probably should have just tacked this onto yesterdays post ... which is why I'm calling it update 9.5.  I was just being a little lazy. ;)
» read full post

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Flower Purse - Update 9

The first part of the handles that are crocheted are the bit across the long sides of the purse rectangle.  Those 9 flowers' petals get gathered as you single crochet through multiple petals at a time.
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Flower Purse - Update 8

I am done weaving in ends!  Thank goodness that they can look like crap on the inside (because the bag will be lined) because that took a lot of the pressure off.
» read full post

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Flower Purse - Update 7

Still just weaving in the bazillion ends.  I've been resisting the urge to calculate how many ends there are.  I think it's best that I don't know.  Ever.
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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Flower Purse - Update 6

We've got handles!  We don't, however, have sunlight, so the picture is kinda crap.
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Flower Purse - Update 5

OK, even though this post is late (meaning, not on Saturday) the pictures were actually taken on Saturday.  So, look  at the photo ... yes, you see that right ... I'm all done with the flowers and connectors!  Yay!!!!
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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Flower Purse - Update 4

This week didn't offer much craft time, but I did manage to fix my little misalignment.  I also finished up all the flower motifs.
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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Flower Purse - Update 3

As I was spreading out the flowers to take this picture, I noticed that they weren't lining up correctly at the bottom right ... and then I noticed the bottom left  ... oh, no ...
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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Flower Purse - Update 2

No mere case of gigantism is going to dissuade me from making worlds most adorable purse.
» read full post

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Neck Warmer

OMG ... you know how I love a long rambly post, right?  Stories and stories and stories.  But there's no time today, so you're getting the 411 bullet-list style.  My apologies.
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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Flower Purse - Update 1

I've started the flower purse from this book.  I'm using the smallest hook I dare with the worsted weight cotton, and it appears that the purse is going to be GIANT sized.  Since there's no people in the pictures in the book, I just made up in my head that the purse was smallish.  FAIL.
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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Japanese Crochet Purse Book

The Japanese crochet book I posted about has just about everyone flipping out to get it. And you really should, because it's awesome!
» read full post

Monday, September 29, 2008

New York Weekend, Part 1

We went to New York last-last weekend (aka the weekend before this last one) for the first time since we got rid of the car.  Let me tell you, I love taking the train!  There's lots of leg room, big comfy seats, and crochet-time galore.  If it wasn't so expensive I'd take the train up every weekend just for the relaxing craft-time.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mini-Me (well, not me-me ...)

This is a mini-me doll I made for my boss' birthday.  He totally wears a green shirt that exact color with white pearl buttons and he sports a long black ponytail, too.  While he was in a meeting, we set up the cake and mini-me in his office to surprise him when he returned.  It was too much fun!
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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Doodle Crochet

Testing out some of the patterns from my new Japanese crochet pattern book.
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Friday, August 29, 2008

If There's A Crochet Heaven, I'm In It

I've been fantasizing about owning this book since I first saw it in April.  I can't believe how patient I've been!  It's the sister-book to the crochet pattern book Alex sent me.  And now that I see it again (and it's mine-all-mine) it's even more beautiful than I remember.  I ordered it from Saucylouise on Etsy.
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Friday, August 22, 2008

Making A Dream A Reality

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Friday, August 15, 2008

No Time For Love Dr. Jones, Part 2

I've been missing crochet so much.  After making a whole handbag on Saturday, I didn't want to stop.  I decided to make one that could be lined with the awesome fabric Veronica sent me December 2007.
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

No Time For Love Dr. Jones

After getting the box o' yarny love from Shannon last weekend, I *had* to do some crocheting.  The package contained a wonderful variegated yarn that I really wanted to see as a handbag.  There was some major blue-pooling when I was doing the base which I wasn't loving.
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Monday, August 04, 2008

It's Not A Mistake, It's Character

Recently I sent a package of goodies to Diane of Crafty Pod.  One item was a custom-made wristlet.  I love making things knowing who they are for.  I'm able to put a little extra love into them.
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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Back To Icelandic Turtleneck

So, I scrapped the peacock cardigan and dived back into the Icelandic Turtleneck.  The pattern has me all excited again.  I guess I just needed a little break from it.
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Tuesday, July 22, 2008


This cute little ninja was made from a pattern in Creepy Cute Crochet, just like the monkey in a fez.  I made it for another a co-worker's birthday.  Instead of making a card* for the ninja, I had everyone write their birthday message on a 2"x3" piece of card stock.  Then I taped each one on a pin (the ones with the flat flower heads on them) and stuck the pin in the ninja.
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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Progress Leading To An End

OK, so I thought I could make a rectangle and put a button or something where my hand is and have the front just sort of  hang open, but that totally won't work and these pictures show you why.  In the side view, you can see that the front points of the rectangle point down and look stretched out .  The vertical lines of the pattern bend around from the back in an unflattering way:  along my back, they curve from top to bottom (looks good), but in the front they point down and back as if being wrapped around a bulging barrel (not so good).
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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Rocking The Doily

I'm not sure why I've always been a little snobby about doilies.  Maybe it's the name, maybe it's the proper sitting room vibe, maybe I'm just a snob.
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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Let's Rewind

A while back I posted about starting a flower-themed granny square blanket ... and how I'd given up because there were too many ends to weave in ... and I was almost unanimously implored to keep going and just cover the ends as I changed colors.

Well, I didn't give the whole story in that post, so let's start at the beginning ...
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Friday, June 27, 2008

Is There Anything Better Than A Monkey?

Oh, yes!   There *is* something better than a monkey.  A monkey in a hat!

This post includes a review of Creepy Cute Crochet.
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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mmmm, Tastes Like Peacock

I got curious about crocheting the peacock pattern seamlessly.  It was actually much easier than I thought it would be.  I kept going and going and it kept being easy.  And now ... I have a fancy beginning for a water bottle holder. Ha!
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Interweave Crochet Summer 2008

I'm so excited to tell you about the article I wrote for Interweave Crochet's Summer Issue!  They have a reoccurring column called "Crochet Around Town" that focuses on the crafty/crochet/fun spots in a certain city.  In the last issue the illustrious Vickie Howell wrote a great piece about Austin.   I almost exploded when Interweave emailed me and asked me to write a tour of crafty Philadelphia.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Swatches and more swatches

Swatches and more swatches.
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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Too Many Ends To Weave In

I was thinking a flower-inspired granny square blanket would be a fun on-the-go summer project ... and then I did a test square.  It's super adorable, but when I saw how many ends I'd have to weave in (6 per square!) I decided to scrap the idea.  It would have been cute, too.
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Sunday, June 01, 2008


This is a test swatch of a wave-and-shell looking pattern.  I experimented a little with just crocheting in the back loop on some of the rows.   I love the color combo.  It feels totally beachy to me.
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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Crafting In The Spaces

In the space between putting on my shoes and leaving to see a movie this flower got attached to this bag.
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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

More Swatches

These are so much fun (patterns from Crochet Patterns Book 300).  This is my favorite (foot for scale).  I remember my mom making a white crochet cotton thread table topper in a similar pineapple pattern.  I think it also looks a little peacocky, too.
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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sketching With Yarn

I've been picking a different stitch to swatch from my new crochet stitch book when I have a spare minute here and there.  I'm really loving it.  Doing little swatches like this is like the equivalent of doing quick sketches.  It's wonderful practice.

[I provide links to the crochet stitch books I own]
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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wedding Blanket

This is the blanket I made for my sister, Nancy, and her husband when they married over seven years ago.  That sucker is huge!  I made it long enough to hang over both sides of their king-sized bed.  Thank you so much, Nanner, for taking the time to take these for me.  I know you're busy-busy-busy.
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Friday, February 15, 2008

Wristlet And Back To Craftiness

This is a commissioned wristlet I finished this week.  I was asked to make it the day before I got the flu ... and it's taken me almost 4 weeks to finish it.  Waaaaaay too long!
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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Suck Them And You Can Spit In Six Colors

The title of this post is a quote from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  It came up in a search for 'rainbow' and it totally cracked me up.

The rainbow blanket is done and quickly getting buried under other projects on my ironing board, as many of you noticed from the last post. :)
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Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Rainbow Blanket And A Dash Of Nostalgia

Imagine me at 12 ...

I had my mom paint a huge rainbow coming out of a big fluffy cloud on the wall at the head of my bed. I spent my summer sitting on the front porch with my wood burning set. My favorite song was Come On Eileen so I taped it off the radio onto a cassette tape. I collected interesting rocks from the driveway and gave them names like "Aristotle."  I liked to sit on the floor of the library and surround myself with piles of out-dated home decorating books from the 60s and 70s.
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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pentagons Coming Out Of My Ears

I'm not 100% loving the actual Giant Floor Ball pattern, so I've been experimenting.

This is a little free-style stitching.  I really like most of it.  I wish I'd written down what I did.  Maybe I can reverse engineer it when the time comes.
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Monday, January 14, 2008

Monster Pentagon

I found the Giant Floor Ball book at the library (the bestest place on Earth).  I took the pattern and lots of yarn with me to get my car inspected, thinking I'd have all the time in the world to whip one out.  Well, it seems that when you remember to get your car inspected early in the month, then an inspection takes less than an hour.  That wasn't nearly enough time to finish this monster.
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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Crochet Foundation Stitches

The Icelandic Turtleneck starts with a row of Foundation Double Crochet.  I had no idea what they were the first time I read the pattern, and it almost made me not want to make it.  Then I read about them in a crochet book by Doris Chan.  She seemed really excited about them.  Then I saw an article about them in the Spring 2007 issue of Interweave Crochet.

And now that I finally figured them out, I'm totally a convert!
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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Icelandic Turtleneck Started

On Saturday I noticed that Michael's was having a 30% off sale on ALL their yarn ... and it ended *on* Saturday.  Ack!  I high-tailed it over there, not really sure what I was going to pick up.

I like ruminating for months over what I want to do.  Seriously.  Then, once I work it all out in my head, I'll follow through.  Well, I knew I wanted to make the Icelandic Turtleneck from Crochet Me, but I hadn't quite figured out what yarn I wanted to use.
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Sunday, January 06, 2008

My Brand New Hat

It's been brutally cold here this last week and the ear muffs aren't enough anymore.  Yesterday I made this hat to match my scarf.

It's made of baby alpaca that is brushed to look like mohair.  I crocheted in the granite stitch.  It's almost impossible to frog, so I crossed my fingers as I made it.  It's not tight at all, but I'm cool with that.  I won't get that red hat-line on my forehead.  It's super warm!
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Friday, January 04, 2008

More Pentagons

During Letterman the last couple of nights, I've been working on creating a pentagon pattern I like.  I'm almost there.

Last night I started stitching on them ... which I'm totally loving.  There are a lot of possibilities here!

The yarn I'm using are odds and ends that I keep in a ziploc bag.  It doesn't take much yarn to make a pentagon, which makes this a perfect project for using up left overs.
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Wednesday, January 02, 2008


On New Year's Eve, in between a delicious dinner out and watching the Ridley Scott commentary on the newest director's cut of Blade Runner, I whipped up this pentagon ball.  Par-tay!

There is only one pentagon (five-sided polygon) pattern in all my books, and it's too lacy to hold in stuffing, so I made this pattern up.  It still has too many holes, but it works as a proof-of-concept.

This would be an awesome kid's toy, or even a cat toy.  I'll see if I can come up with a better small pentagon granny square.  But the goal was to do a practice run for This Monster Ball (via Crafty Pod, scroll down).

The best part?  If you have a hole-free pentagon, then you don't have to weave in any ends.  I'll repeat: you don't have to weave in any ends!!!  You can just let them swim around on the inside.

Oh, crocheted pentagon ball, you might be the most perfect project ever ... (sigh)
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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Neopolitan Blanket

All I could think about when I was making this blanket was the Neopolitan Coconut candies I would get as a child at the Pick-A-Mix station at the grocery store.  They are heaven!  I also liked the Jelly Nougats which look totally gross to me now.  Anyway, crocheting this blanket made me CRAVE candy.

The blanket is made of worsted weight cotton and is alternating rows of single and double crochet.  The single crochet gives some structure to the blanket and the double crochet makes it cuddly.

The top and bottom edge have an edging of *dc ch dc ch dc* all in one stitch and then a sc on either side.  The right and left edges are just single crochet.
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Monday, December 03, 2007

Would You Like To Pet My Scarf?

Using baby alpaca yarn is like crocheting with butter.  It's amazing!  My finished scarf is very fluffy and super warm.  Today we took a two hour walk in howling cold winds and my scarf was HOT when we get home.  Seriously, I take it off, and it's hot.  I love it.

I made everyone at Thanksgiving pet it.  And I'm going to make anyone who says word-one about it pet it, too.  I love making people pet my scarf.  What kind of weirdness is that?  "Feel how soft it is.  Really, touch it ... TOUCH IT!"

What was that?  Why yes, I usually wear my coat and scarf in the bathroom.  Why do you ask? ;)

I wish I'd come up with a WOW idea for the pattern, but I like what I came up with OK.  It matches the ear muffs I found yesterday really well (the houndstooth jobber in the top photo).  I was inspired by this scarf pattern to use a dual color granite stitch.  It's a very stretchy, cushiony, wonderful crochet stitch.  I used it on this headband and several other things, but I never thought to alternate colors.
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Black & Pink Handbag

* * * * * *
UPDATE:  The Starling Handbag crochet pattern for the purse above is now available on the free downloads page.  Yay!
* * * * * *

This blog-reader found me when she was Googling something (I didn't think to ask what), and emailed me to see if I would make her a handbag.  She was very specific.  She wanted Barb's handbag with black, pink, and white replacing the blues and ecru.  She even verified the dimensions, the presence of pockets, etc.  She is a detail-oriented woman after my own heart.

The resulting handbag is adorable.  I had to buy new fabric for the lining (HAD to ... really).  I couldn't decide between getting this print in white on black or black on white - so, I bought them both!  I used the black for the lining and the white for the pocket.

At first I didn't know why I loved this fabric so much, but when I got home I realized that it totally reminded me of the wonderful Japanese designs in Japanese Patterns book.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Anticraft Project Three

I was really excited that a crochet project of mine was included in the Anticraft  book.  I designed this lined crochet tote bag so it would be a canvas on which you could add your own personalized design.  I submitted two designs for the book.

The "I [Skull] Trouble Tote" is actually mentioned in the promotional blurb, which totally set me on fire when I noticed.  I included a chart for the whole alphabet with this design so that the saying could be personalized,  Everyone has something important to say on their tote, right? :)

The second design is the Apothecary Tote.  I was inspired by Victorian apothecary medicine bottles.  When I was adding this design to the tote using my graph paper chart, I miscounted the spaces and had to redo it 4 or 5 times.  It was driving me nuts!  But I really loved how it turned out.

While writing up the crochet instructions for the tote, I realized how hard it is to actually explain in words how I do the seamless crochet technique.  Supplementing this pattern is a lot of the reason I put my seamless crochet tutorial on the web.

I also plan on posting a tutorial showing how I hand sew my linings into my crochet bags.  Several people have asked about it, and it would be a good supplement for the book, as well.

I'm compelled to write tutorials because I HATE it when I get the instructions for a project and they blithely say things like "sew the lining into the tote."  HOW?!  It seriously drives me nuts when they give no hint or clue about the techniques they actually used to do it.  I don't want to be a part of THAT problem. :)
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The History Of Alice As Told In Yarn

I spent about an hour standing in the craft store Saturday staring at a wall of yarn in the coolest muted tones and edgy colors ... a palette I would have murdered for (with my bare hands) years ago.  Seriously.  I'm especially impressed with the acrylic selection.  Vanna's Choice, Cotton Ease (which also has great labels), and Red Heart Soft are all being made in totally amazing colors.

Back in the 90s when I was crocheting ALL THE TIME, there wasn't a lot to choose from if you were making $10 an hour in San Francisco and wanted muted, edgy colors.  OK, there was *nothing* to choose from.  I used Red Heart Super Saver to make tons of blankets and hats because that's all I could afford.  Most were studies in eye-popping brightness.

There was one granny square blanket in particular that I made in variegated rainbow, bright purple, yellow, green, etc., that would make your eyes bleed.  I thought I was going to have to keep that one for myself, but one of my friends surprised me by asking for it when it was finished.

I did manage to make a tasteful blanket out of Red Heart for my little sister's wedding present.  I'm working on getting pictures of it to show you.  It's a king-sized blanket in black granny squares with pastel flower centers.  I worked on it for months, and I really loved how it turned out.  I don't have a picture because I made it before the days of digital cameras ... oh, how did we ever manage then?

Eventually I started buying super soft TLC (which isn't so soft anymore ... apparently they changed manufacturers) and Caron's Simply Soft, but they were more expensive, so I could only afford to make throw blankets for people.

I even splurged on some Lion Brand Microspun for hats and scarves for Andrew and I when we first met.  The Microspun was worth every penny.  It's super soft and still hasn't pilled years later.  But, again, they make it in eye-popping bright colors.

I've always been pretty tight with my cash, sometimes out of necessity and sometimes out of habit.  I remember when Lion Brand came out with Homespun.  I seriously loved that yarn.  I couldn't afford it, but I would visit it at the store and pet the skeins.  I never did buy any, but I did send away for the color cards.

I also got the Red Heart color cards, as you see above.  I was holding out hope that they had cool colors that just weren't in the store.  No such luck.

It wasn't until I started making handbags in cotton that I worked with yarn that wasn't acrylic.  You know what's funny?  I never worked with anything but worsted weight yarn until recently, too.  I kinda felt like the thinner yarn was a scam to sell you less yarn for more money.

I've been learning a lot lately.  :)  There's a bunch of great info about yarn weights and hook sizes at Yarn Standards.  I also just discovered Yarndex where you can search for yarn by weight, fiber, etc.  On a recent craft shopping trip, I bought a skein of yarn (or crochet cotton) in every size they had, just so I'd have reference material at home.

I couldn't find any Super Fine #1 yarn at the craft store, but I picked up 5 skeins of this Light #3 yarn, Paton's Brilliant in Mocha, thinking I'd make the Five O'Clock Tank from Crochet Me with it.  I did a gauge swatch and I was so excited to find out it will work for the Icelandic Turtleneck!  Yay!

Unfortunately, they only had 5 skeins in this color (at half price!!) and I'll need about double that for the turtleneck.  I will probably end up just ordering a new lot from somewhere and taking back 4 of the skeins.  It's so amazingly cool!  I know it's super Disco, but I still love it.

The picture doesn't really capture it's yumminess.  The brown is pretty dark (not so red) and the glitter thread glints in copper, which you can kinda see in the blurry skeins behind the pile.

Before I discovered the Brilliant, I did some investigating and discovered Maizy yarn (corn and nylon).  I think it looks super nice. has a great close up of the color sea grey which shows that the yarn has tiny twisted colors in it.  I especially like the colors Kelp Grey, Sky Blue, or Bittersweet.  Have any of you touched this yarn?  I'm totally curious.
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Sunday, November 04, 2007

I'm Gooder Than I Thought

I did snag some yarn yesterday (which I'll tell you about later), but I actually *finished* a project, too.  Yay!

This is for AmberCake.  We agreed to swap over 8 months ago, setting it up for the fall.  We were both too busy then.  She's probably too busy now, too, since she's expecting!

I made longer straps at her request.  She also wanted a dark bottom and handles.  I think it frames the birdcage nicely.

I'm gonna keep what I'm getting from her a secret until I get them, to keep the pressure off Amber.  She's got way more important things to worry about.  I am SUPER excited, though, because she is making me the most wonderful knitted things E.V.E.R.
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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Can I Start Just One More Project?

This is my side of the couch AFTER I sorta straightened things up.  Then there is everything draped all over my craft table.  I have a whole day to craft ... and you know what I really want to do?  Go buy some more yarn to start another project.  I probably won't even stop myself.

In other news, the alpaca yarn is classified as heavy worsted (what would that be ... #4.5?), so it totally won't work for the Icelandic Turtleneck, which calls for fingering weight yarn aka Super Fine #1.  Well, maybe it would work if I made an effort, but I tend to crochet-rip-crochet-rip the first time I make something and the fuzzy alpaca (it's brushed to look like mohair) is very hard to rip out because the fuzzies tangle together.  The alpaca is going to become the warmest, softest scarf ever.  You can see it just started on the floor there in gray.

The rainbow blankets and the pink blanket are all for donating to Tricot du Coeur.  The deadline is the end of March, so I have plenty of time.  They accept crochet, knitted, or quilted blankets, so if you have the inclination and the time to make something to warm an ill little one, get over there and sign up. :)
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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Tutorial: Seamless Single Crochet Supplement

** EDIT:  I have created a new tutorial for seamless single crochet which is a simpler and much better  technique.  Don't use this one. :) **

See the seamless crochet tutorial ... it points to this supplement.
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Friday, October 19, 2007


Here is a bird wristlet in blue.  I usually use bright colors on the birds, because natural colors would look a little blah on the ecru yarn.  It was nice to make a little sparrow for Dawn.

And the ubiquitous inside shot.

This wristlet is for Elizabeth of Crafts of Destiny to give to a friend of hers who loves to play dominoes.  Her birthday was in July, so I decided to put seven spots on it.

Here is a close up of the top.  For both of these wristlets, I squared off the corners when I sewed in the lining. I really like how it looks ... although I like the loose, foldy look, too. Do you have a preference?
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Turning Hardware Into Software

When the ever-inspirational Diane at Crafty Pod posted about making a washer & yarn pendant I was totally excited.  I already had a ton of washers in my craft supply stash because I used them as bases to weight my owl and bad egg stuffies.

Instead of wrapping the washer, I crocheted around it.  I could have made more stitches more to cover the sides of the washer, but I like the metal peeking out between the crochet cotton.

After the first row around the washer, I crocheted a row of [single crochet, chain one] in the top of the first row.  After I was done, I added the beads.

In the picture above, it is attached to a spool knit rope, which would work for a choker or longer necklace.  The washer's weight makes the crocheted washer a perfect pendant.  I think it would also work great as a large button, brooch, or (heavy) barrette.

Someday I'm going to make a trek over to the hardware store and search for other things I could crochet or sew around.  I bet there are a million-and-one awesome projects hiding in there!
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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I've Got A Fever And The Only Prescription Is A Crochet Hook Holder

The last couple days I've become a sneezing snot factory, culminating in fever of 99 degrees last night, which is super-high for me since I'm normally 97.6 degrees.  I say "culminating" as wishful thinking because I don't want to get any sicker ... please.

When I first start getting sick, I usually can't sleep.  Friday night, I tossed and turned for hours.  Around 4:30 AM, I got out of bed and went to the office/craft room.  I'd been vaguely thinking of making a crochet hook holder that I could hang on the wall next to my craft table.

I'd done a quick sketch of a horizontal thing, but for some reason, in my sick-haze, I decided to change the design to a vertical panel with diagonal pockets.  With zero planning, I steam rolled my way through and came up with this.

I'm pretty impressed that I was able to do this without my contacts in and (most likely) with a fever.  It was SO HARD.  It looks like it would be easy, but it was, like I said, SO HARD.

First, I cut all the little pockets, sewed the opening seam, then sewed them in a strip so the top of each one was off from the next by one inch.  That part was cake.  The SO HARD part was getting the 1.5" wide strips sewed to the background so they were 1" wide to make a pouch.

I can't find the right words to explain what I did, but it involved sewing individual pieces of 1" wide stabilizer behind each pocket and then sewing the thing the background in between each pocket.  Seriously, there were hours of trying out ways to get those pockets on there so they were pockets *and* straight.

I used all sorts of gifted and leftover fabric (recognize yours?).  The stitched dashed lines were sewn with floss from my box of floss ends.  The pink bias tape is vintage from my Green Kitchen stash.  I printed out the numbers on paper and sewed the little squares on the background.

There was no way in the world that I was going to embroider the numbers.  For one thing, I would have made a mistake.  For another, I don't actually own all these sizes, so it'll make things easy to change if I find other hooks outside of the 'accepted' size system.

I used the millimeter size to label them.  The whole letter/number thing gets on my nerves *and* it's different from manufacturer to manufacturer ... and sometimes different over the years within a manufacturer's line.

I really love how this came out, even with it's strange mistakes.  I plan on putting little notes in the pockets if I've stashed the hook away in one of my ziploc bag projects under the ironing board, so I know where to find it.  I'm also thinking there needs to be some embroidered title across the top, but that might have to wait until my next fever.
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Friday, September 28, 2007

New Winter Hat

I made this cute little hat using the free pattern from Crafty Pants.  It was super quick to make, and I love it.  Jessica wrote great directions with lots of tips and reminders that help you through the process.

I made a couple of adjustments.  Either because I have a huge head or because I'm a tight crocheter (or both), I did not decrease for the band around the head, I left it at 60 stitches.  When it was 48 stitches, it sat perched on my head like a tiny chef's hat. :)  I considered ripping the whole thing out and making the hat part bigger so the 60 stitch band would be a decrease, but I think it looks fine the way it is, so I'm leaving it alone.  I also did the hat band in-the-round instead of back and forth.

I used my favorite reclaimed-from-a-sweater sequins to decorate the hat band.  I think of them as little ice crystals.  It was fun using someone else's pattern to make something.
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Monday, September 17, 2007

Bleed For Me

More testing from the evil laboratory of futuregirl.

Tools:  Hot Water, Detergent (Free Clear Cheer)

Experiment 1 - I attached several samples of dark acrylic felt to some ecru cotton yarn.  I submerged it in hot, detergenty water for several hours (actually, I forgot about it all day).  None of them ran.  I think it's because the plastic fibers that make up the felt are made that color, not dyed.

Experiment 2 - I tied every color of cotton yarn I have to a swatch of ecru cotton. I submerged it in hot, detergenty water for several hours (actually, I forgot about this one all day, too).  The two red arrows above show the only visible bleeding while the yarn was still attached.  The bleeding wasn't very obvious.

Once I removed the yarn, the bleeding was a little more obvious.  The arrows above indicate the colors that bled: turquoise, hot pink, black, lime, and burgundy.

The lime was a big surprise.  The red didn't bleed at all, which was also a big surprise.

Conclusions - I don't need to worry about felt or yarn bleeding.

I think the minimal yarn bleeding was a result of the extended submersion in hot soapy water. My handbag is ecru and black with burgundy accents, and I see no sign of contact bleeding from normal washing.
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Friday, September 14, 2007

Set Sail

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UPDATE:  The Starling Handbag crochet pattern for the purse above is now available on the free downloads page.  Yay!
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This handbag is ready to travel to it's final destination.  I added some leaves to the tulip label and whipped up a new one for Germany.  I love the little beer stein on the Germany label - it even has a hinged lid.  Just in time for Oktoberfest!

Here you can see the world map fabric Elizabeth picked out for the lining.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007


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UPDATE:  The Starling Handbag crochet pattern for the purse above is now available on the free downloads page.  Yay!
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This special request handbag is for Marietta's sister.  Her only requirement was that it include at least one daisy.

I futzed around with daisy ideas before settling on these simple felt ones.  Crochet daisies just weren't "daisy enough" for me.  If you're interested in making your own felt daisies my daisy tutorial is available exclusively on Whip Up.

Whip Up's theme for this month is Simple Crafts. These daisies certainly fit that bill.  Whip Up is looking for article and tutorial submissions. Check out their submission guidelines.  Maybe there is something you could write up for them.

Once I figured out the daisies, I knew they'd only look right to me on a blue handbag ... daisies against the bright blue summer sky.  I put two daisies on each side of the bag.

I didn't think I'd have the right lining fabric in my stash ... but when I looked I rediscovered this great print.  How perfect is it?!
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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Handbag For Barb

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UPDATE:  The Starling Handbag crochet pattern for the purse above is now available on the free downloads page.  Yay!
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I made this handbag for a previous co-worker.  She noticed that I made myself a handbag, and saw me crocheting all the time, so she asked if I'd make her one, too.  She took me out to lunch a million-and-one times in exchange - which was fine with me. :)

As you can see, I based the stripe and dash pattern on the fabric I chose as a lining.  I love the blues in the fabric.  I just happened to have just enough teal yarn left over from another project to use for this handbag.  Yay for stash-using.

I have a thing for stripes in a big way.  It's totally accidental.  I never think about it, I'm just drawn to them.  Years ago a friend pointed out that over half the shirts hanging in my closet had horizontal stripes on them ... I'd never noticed.

I didn't make a label for this handbag because I never told Barb about my craft blog.  In fact, I never told anyone at that job about it.  Is that weird?  Do any of you not-tell certain people about your craft-blog-self?
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Monday, July 30, 2007

Tutorial: Crochet Beaded Bracelet

This easy-to-crochet bracelet is perfect for summer fun. The cotton thread is washable so you can wear it through all your outdoor adventures.
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Friday, July 13, 2007

Perfect Match

I just noticed how perfectly this brooch matches my bag. Brown Pants sent it to me as part of her birthday giveaway.  Thanks again, Kristie!
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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Candy Striped Bag

I made this little shoulder bag for myself.  When we go on vacation or even just up to New York for the day, I like to bring a large tote to carry all the guide books, umbrellas, purchases, bottles of water, band aids™, etc.

Also inside the large tote is a small bag where I keep my wallet and other important stuff.  When we go into a store where I have to check my tote, then I can just pull out the little bag so I can still pay for my purchases.

I bought this fossil tote for our trip to San Francisco.  My New York tote is black, to hide the dirt, and I wanted something cheerier for the west coast.

I had big plans to make this little bag for the vacation, but I only got as far as crocheting it and cutting out the lining before we had to leave.  So sad.  Then, of course, I let it sit until we made plans to go to New York for The Fourth of July.  I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to finish it before we left.

I sized the bag so it would fit easily under my arm.  The zipper has little fabric tabs on either end, which you can hold onto while zippering it.  I should have made the zipper ends a little longer, though, because when the bag is fully opened, the zipper opening is smaller than the bag opening.

I lined the bag with the striped fabric Andrew bought me for my birthday last year.  It is perfect for so many reasons:  it's striped, it's got flowers in it, and it's just the right colors.

The bag has one fabric shoulder strap. I used some tiny rectangle rings as connectors.

There are a couple minor adjustments that need to be made, like the strap being too long, but overall, I love this little bag.  I would also recommend that you not use metal teeth zippers on a handbag, because they catch on your fingernails a lot.

The only big problem, is that the bag doesn't stand up on it's own. In Andrew's top photo, the bag looks crisp and smart, but what it looks like all the rest of the time is the photo above.

The other bags I've designed all magically stand up and keep a flat bottom (mostly).  I really like the structure and shape of my handbags and I was disappointed when this one became a lumpy bundle under my arm.

To fix this, I first thought I should reinforce it with all sorts of interfacing, but I'm starting to change my mind.  I'm liking the idea of working with the soft slouchiness of crochet and making a more organically shaped bag. I don't have the whole idea yet, but it's forming.
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Monday, June 18, 2007

Tout Va Bien

The French post title (meaning "all is well") is doing double duty today.  First, it refers to my desire to become a wonderfully stylish French woman as I get older, just like Isabelle Hupert.  To this end, I crocheted this lacy scarf.  Although I will probably never have the poise or panache of Isabelle, I can feel like I do when I wear this scarf.
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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Nautical Handbag

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UPDATE:  The Starling Handbag crochet pattern for the purse above is now available on the free downloads page.  Yay!
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Elizabeth, a wonderful web-friend, who blogs at Crafts of Destiny contacted me months ago (March, actually) because she wanted a handbag for her Mom's birthday in June.  She gave me a couple themes to choose from and asked me if I would like to design something.  The nautical theme captured my imagination right away.  After doing some google searches, I discovered that nautical flags actually stand for letters.  Part of me thought it'd be really cool to spell something out in nautical flags - like a secret message for sailors.  Another part of me thought I was out of my mind.  When I emailed Elizabeth about the idea, it was exactly what she already had in mind - perfect!

The flags spell "Margaret," which is Elizabeth's Mom's name.  I cross-stitched on 22count Hardanger (I didn't make the smallest possible X, but I liked the tighter weave of the 22-count fabric).  Originally, I wanted to use metallic gold where the light blue is, but the metallic floss was a bitch to use.  It pulled funny, broke apart, and was generally finicky.  It also didn't look as cool as I thought it would as the ground for the flags.

I made a simple felt square key chain to match.  Anchors are a great nautical image, and it was fun stitching this little one.

Now that I've become familiar with nautical flags, I'm seeing them everywhere.  Even though I only know the letters m-a-r-g-e-t, I can figure out words sometimes.  Last time we drove to the shore*, I realized the flags flying across the roof of the Atlantic City Convention Center spelled "Atlantic City."  I'm so smart! ;)

*In South Jersey (or the southern part of New Jersey, as everyone else would say), the beach is not the beach, it's the shore.  You even see this on the highway signs when driving south out of  New York.  There are all sorts of exits for "Shore Points,"  meaning cities along the coast.  I've lived a lot of different places in this country, and I always enjoy learning the colloquial language of an area.  It helps me feel at home.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Wristlet For Marci

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Wristlet For Aranya

Aranya lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand and works as a nurse.  She is such a sweetheart.  This year for her birthday, Andrew commissioned a wristlet.  He picked out the color and style, and I think it turned out way cute.
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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Second Wristlet

I've been focused on finishing up projects before the Philadelphia Film Festival starts on Thursday.  This year we're seeing more films than ever before, so there won't be much of anything going on* until after the 17th.
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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Some Handbags Finished

I'm so happy with this recent set of completed handbags.  Aren't these close-ups adorable!?
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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My Very Own Handbag

The handbag above is mine, all mine.  I *love* this handbag.  If you make stuff (and if you are reading my blog, you probably do), I suggest you make one (of whatever it is that you make) for yourself.  It feels so good to spoil yourself the same way you like to spoil other people.
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Saturday, March 10, 2007

WIP - Handbags

I've finished embellishing the birdcage and flower handbags that I'm making.  Earlier this week, I finished embellishing the three teal bags.  Six of the nine "handmade by futuregirl" labels are done.  Next I need to cut, sew, and install the linings.
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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

The knitted cord from my Clover Wonder Knitter makes the *best* wristlet straps.  I tried all sorts of variations (double strand, multi-color double strand, knitting a cord around another cord), but the plain-old 3-spindle tube is perfect:  it's shape looks nice; the cord is moderately stretchy; and it's so fun and easy to make.  Super-Duper Yay!
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Friday, February 23, 2007


This handbag, for Bethany of Bitter Betty, started as a dream. I awoke one morning with the image of a cream and black striped bag floating in my head. It'd been months since I decided to make her a handbag, and I'd been waiting for the perfect inspiration.
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Crochet Wristlet

Ester emailed me in November and asked if I would make a wristlet for her.  Of course!  Luckily, I knew how crazy my schedule would be, so I warned her it would be done after the new year.  See, I'm right on time.
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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Handbag - 7 of 7

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UPDATE:  The Starling Handbag crochet pattern for the purse above is now available on the free downloads page.  Yay!
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This is the last of the 7 handbags I made for my mother-in-law to give as holiday gifts to her employees (and a niece).

When I bought this yarn, I had no idea what I was going to do with it.  I just loved the color.  Actually, that's how I buy most of my yarn.  So one day I took all these different colored strands of yarn to the fabric store and tried to find matching fabric to use as linings.  When I found this burst fabric, I about freaked.

First of all, I'm silly for dark grey.  It's one of my favorite colors.  So, to find a fabric with a dark grey background was cool.  When you add  bursty flowers in blues, electric lime green, and white, it becomes irresistible to me.  This is another bolt that I pulled off the shelf and dragged around the store so no one else could take it.

Strangely, there is no absolute teal in the fabric when you get up close, but somehow it matches the yarn perfectly.

At first, I tried embroidering directly on the handbag, but you really need the dark grey background to make those colors pop.  The lime floss was just swallowed by the teal yarn.  As you can see, I ended up cutting out charcoal felt circles and embroidering on them.  In the middle of the two big circles are stitched-on  sequins.  Then I added in some of my favorite sequins  to balance everything out.

Making these seven handbags for my mother-in-law was a great learning experience for me because I discovered several things:

-- I have a much more solid feel for what does and doesn't work for me.  I'm going to be much more confident when picking out fabrics and choosing embellishments in the future.

-- Making these handbags feels good in a way that most jobs never will or could.  I am going to do everything I can to keep this part of my life growing.

-- Even though I have a full-time job, I can get a ton accomplished when I'm focused and motivated.

Completing this craft-challenge has given me the determination to be more ambitious.  I'm excited about my crafty plans and I can't wait to see where all of this leads.
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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Handbag - 6 of 7

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UPDATE:  The Starling Handbag crochet pattern for the purse above is now available on the free downloads page.  Yay!
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I love this fabric.  When I saw it, I immediately grabbed it off the shelf and carried it around the store until I bought all that was on the bolt.  Sadly, there was less than two yards left.

I love graphic, flat-color designs.  I love brown and orange and red and cream and weird mossy green.  I love leaves with curlicue veins and flowers with spots and bursts.  I LOVE this fabric.

It's a thick fabric (bottom wieght, maybe?) that has a tiny bit of stretch (I'm guessing 1% lyrca or spandex).  This makes it very nice as a purse lining.  It feels sturdy and durable.

The fabric made embellishing the bag super easy ... I have about 20 cool looking flowers and leaves to choose from.  When I dropped off all the handbags, my mother-in-law picked this one up and said, "I want one of these. A large one." :)

I know exactly how she feels.  I'm going to make one of these for myself, too.  I have my summer-walk bag, but I need one of these for everyday use.  Oh, I can't wait!

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Handbag - 5 of 7

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UPDATE:  The Starling Handbag crochet pattern for the purse above is now available on the free downloads page.  Yay!
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This bag was already finished when my mother-in-law asked for seven bags, so it worked out in my favor.  I have lots of the birdcage fabric, so I will be able to make plenty more.

The birdcage bags are the most popular ones, by far.  Everyone seems to love them.  I'm stunned by them, too.  They look exactly how I want them to look.  I love it when that happens.

I've tried to make a bunch of different bird shapes on the bags I've made.  I built up a little library of bird body templates.  This bow-legged cutie is one of my favorites.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Handbag - 4 of 7

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UPDATE:  The Starling Handbag crochet pattern for the purse above is now available on the free downloads page.  Yay!
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This bag is lined with paisley fabric, and I originally planned on adorning it with paisleys.  But, after the purple paisley insanity, I decided to try something else.

The fabric has great, simple graphic flowers on it.  I found myself doodling and I ended up likking the two sketched flowers (under the bags) to put on the bag.

First I attached the sage yarn with embroidery floss. Then I created circle flowers like the ones in the fabric.  I was on the fence about them - something didn't seem right.  Quality Control (aka Andrew) helped me decide to nix them when he said, "I think it's staring at me.*"  He saw the flowers as google-eyes and the stems as a nose.   Alrighty then ... back to the drawing board.

I still wanted to go with flowers.  As a test, I traced the top of a spool, cut the petals freehand, and embroidered the centers on two flowers.  They were perfect, so I ended up using the test ones. Yay!

It's funny that using simple, normal flowers makes me feel a little guilty, a little like a slacker.  I always feel like I need to kick it up a notch or I'll look unoriginal or lazy.  Not just in crafting, but in life in general.  I was the girl who always did all the extra credit homework - and loved every second of it.  But sometimes, simple and normal is exactly what is called for.

The brown of this yarn is very rich and warm.  I really like it.  I only had a fat quarter of the maize paisley, so I'm going to have to hunt down a bolt of this stuff, because I love it paired with the brown yarn. They are like chocolate and caramel.

* I want to take the opportunity to say that Andrew is my biggest source of encouragement.  He's the first person to see my stuff and is always supportive and helpful ... and, even when he accuses my bags of having google-eyed stares, it's with a smile.
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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Handbag - 3 of 7

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UPDATE:  The Starling Handbag crochet pattern for the purse above is now available on the free downloads page.  Yay!
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This purple handbag was made from the yarn left over from the super bad bag.  I don't usually go for lavender, so this color presented a challenge to me.

The paisley lining matched perfectly, so I thought I would go with paisleys for the outside.  Ugh, they just didn't look right on the bag: too many purples, no color harmony going on, and the tiny paisleys looked microbial and contagious.  On their own, they are supercute, sadly I made them too late to send off for the embroidered patch swap.

Next, I started a super elaborate paisley, thinking the microbial thing was the problem.  A couple hours into the stitching (no joke) I started to panic because I didn't have the time to spend hours and hours on one (one!) paisley.  Plus, I was starting to have second thoughts about the colors and the purple felt backing.

Freak out time.  What the hell was I going to put on this bag?  I pulled out my "stuff to put on other stuff" drawer and started to sift through the sequins, beads, and ... stuff.  That's when I stumbled across these sequins ... again (I used them on the aqua bag, too).

The Story of the Sequins

I rescued these sequins from a sweater I bought last year.  They were cute on the sweater, but my long hair was constantly getting tangled in them.  I carefully cut them out of the sweater and saved them (like the little hoarder I am).  Now they have become my absolutely favorite sequins and I can't find anything like them at the store.  My casual hunt is going to become a determined and focused hunt as I use them up.  If anyone has sequin finding tips, let me know.  I've already scoured AC Moore, Michael's, Joann's Superstore, and Pearl.

Attaching the sequins to the handbag was super easy.  Three rows looks great to me.  The turquoise/pink shimmer on the lavender yarn is really pretty and it matches the lining fabric really well, too.  Glittery, yet subtle.

I'm drawn to Earthy, Autumny, Deep Jeweltone colors. As a green-eyed, redhead who was born in October, those are the colors that make sense to me.  Eventually, when I have more time to play around, I want to explore color combinations that I'm not comfortable with (lavender, pastels, bright colors).  It always seems like people do the neatest and most inspiring work when they reach out of their depths.
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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Handbag - 2 of 7

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UPDATE:  The Starling Handbag crochet pattern for the purse above is now available on the free downloads page.  Yay!
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This is the one Mini Handbag of the bunch.  I originally made a yellow one, but I didn't have the right fabric to go with the yellow.  I thought a trip to the fabric store would do more to harm my deadline than just making another in ecru.

I decided to line this one with the freaky stripe fabric, but I was afraid that elaborate embroidery would overwhelm such a small handbag.  I decided to embroider simple, multi-colored dashed lines across the top of the bag.  Next time, I'll make sure to put the yellow yarn on a bump-row, because it's a little swallowed up on the valley-row.

I like the effect of the alternating dashes, and all the colors hint at the crazy lining.  This one is going to be a gift for my young niece.  I think she'll love it.

In this last picture, you can see the crisp bottom corners of the lining.  After I sew the square bottom, I iron on stiff stabilizer. Not only does the stabilizer flatten out the bottom of the handbag, but it helps the lining fill-out the bag instead of looking loose and bunchy.  It's a small thing to do, but it makes a big difference.
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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Handbag - 1 of 7

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UPDATE:  The Starling Handbag crochet pattern for the purse above is now available on the free downloads page.  Yay!
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All seven handbags are finished and ready to go to Thanksgiving dinner with us tomorrow at Andrew's parent's home.  I know! ... I can't believe it either. :)

I'd like to thank my mother-in-law (the. best. ever.) for commissioning these handbags.  It was great to have the freedom to try a bunch of different and new things.  Because of this project, as I go forward, I'm going to be more confident in my fabric choices and embellishment designs.  Thanks, Elaine!

This is handbag 1 of 7.  The designs and colors in the striped lining fabric are way-crazy.  It's overwhelming - in the best possible way.  When I first got it, I cut a strip the length of the repeat (24 inches) and I just stared at it for days while I worked on other crafts.  Each stripe is mesmerizing, ecstatic.  It's every curtain, wall paper, rug, and embroidered dress I had growing up in Kansas - all rolled into one fabric.

I was tentative about making a striped bag.  Especially with such a crazy color combo, but I plunged in.  Then, it just seemed right to use the yarn, itself, to do the embellishments.  I did a fairly simple cross-stitch-y design that echoes the fabric.

If I actually try to think about the color combination and the stitching, I start getting lost in all the colors and stripe widths, but when I just look at it, it looks *right* to me.  I love it.  I can't really explain why.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

WIP Friday - Still Handbags and Ornaments

Wow.  I embellished 4 handbags this week (teal, brown, striped, and purple).  I crocheted a new mini handbag in ecru. I had a yellow one, but I didn't like any of my current fabrics paired with it. I figured it was faster to crochet a new mini handbag to match fabric I have, than to go to Joann's and look around. :)

I love the brown bag.  The flower stems are sage yarn that I stitched on with embroidery floss.  The white stitches in the flower centers are French knots with tails - something I learned from the embroidery book I got recently.

The striped fabric was a one of my birthday presents from Andrew.  It's the most crazy, fun, striped fabric ever. To echo the bold design of the fabric, I cross-stitched on the single crochet using yarn.  I thought embroidery floss would be too delicate compared to the lively stripes.

I had a lot of trouble embellishing the purple bag.  My two attempts and creating embroidered paisleys failed.  The biggest problem was that I didn't have the right color of felt to back the paisleys, so they just looked weird on the purse.  I saved my paisleys for the next patch swap, because they are cool on their own.

Exasperated, I started looking through my stash to find inspiration, and I came across these sequins.  They are the same iridescent, clear sequins on the teal purse, but they have a much different effect on the purple purse.  They create a tuquoise/purple shimmer, which I think is a perfect compliment to the paisley lining fabric.

I apologize for the wanky color in these WIP photos (and the teal ones).  Once the handbags are all done, with linings and everything, I want to take some nice photos of them.  These photos almost look like mug shots, poor handbags. :)

I was focusing on the bags this week, so there was less progress on the ornaments.  Just one and a half X's.
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Monday, November 13, 2006

Embellished Teal Handbag

I finished embellishing the teal handbag.  I LOVE the lining fabric, but I wasn't sure how I was going to tie in the embellishments.  I have so much to do that I didn't take the time to labor over it - I just jumped right in.

I like the way the felt circles came out.    There was one weirdo reject circle, but I like these two.  The tiny felt circles were a last minute addition to help balance out the big circles, because the little transparent sequins aren't always visible.
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Friday, November 10, 2006

WIP Friday - Handbags and Ornaments

I finished crocheting all 7 handbags and have embellished one. The handbag is laying on the fabric I will use to line it. The felt flower is inspired by the fabric, of course. I love the curly leaf veins and the French knots around the flower center.

The fabric looks a little neon on my monitor, but it's the actually a deep brown with rich, warm flowers. I fell in love with the fabric even before I pulled the bolt off the shelf.

Here is a shot of the project chart for the handbags.  The next step is to embellish all of them.  I'm looking forward to it since each one is different from what I've done in the past and from each other.

As you can see, I'm making headway on the ornaments.  I put the most laborious, time-consuming, exacting work first so that I would hurry through it to get to the fun, easier work.  My evil plan is working, since I accomplished a lot this week (there were no boxes checked off last Friday).  I'm taking pictures as I go, so I will be able to show you all the details once their owners get them (some time after Dec 12th).  It's killing me that I can't share this project with you, but I'm loving the anticipation!

I'm definitely going to leave mine (the lonely "fg" at the end of the row) until the end.  But I've promised myself I *will* make it.  I think I can trust me. :)
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Monday, October 23, 2006

Bag Photo Shoot

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UPDATE:  The Starling Handbag crochet pattern for the purse above is now available on the free downloads page.  Yay!
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I finished one of each size of my bags in ecru cotton yarn so I could do a comparative set of photos.  I think the ecru works perfectly for generic purses.

Starting from the left, Mini, Slim, Small, Medium, Large.  The Slim bag is in half-double crochet and is flat when it's empty.  The rest of the bags are in single crochet and have flat bottoms so they easily stand on their own.

Andrew picked up a huge roll of white paper (25 yards of 36" wide Sign Writers Bond, 20lb.) that works perfectly for a backdrop.  We took a bazillion group and single photos.  I'm really pleased with them.  Next step, photo editing.

Yesterday we went to dinner at the best steakhouse in South Jersey with Andrew's parents.  I'm not a big meat-eater, especially when there are bones involved, but I absolutely *devour* the end-cut prime rib at The Library.  At dinner my mother-in-law asked if I'd make 7 bags for her to give as Holiday gifts!  I'm determined to get them done by Thanksgiving.  I've already started!
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Monday, October 09, 2006

Tutorial: Seamless Single Crochet

** EDIT:  I have created a new tutorial for seamless single crochet which is a simpler and much better  technique.  Don't use this one. :) **

My seamless crochet handbags are made employing this technique. Using close-up photos, I demonstrate each step of creating a seamless, single crochet project.
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Friday, September 22, 2006

Korallin and Marietta Get Bags

These two bags were sent to two great women: Korallin and Marietta.  I can't say enough great things about these two.  Korallin left the first comment on my blog and has been a hilarious and steadfast friend ever since.  Marietta and I clicked right away.  She sent me a super-cool stash of felt after exchanging only a couple of emails with me.  They are both exuberant, kick ass women.  And I wanted to send them both a kick ass present.

I've been on a mission to make a totally awesome crochet bag.  The first step was designing a bag with no seams.  This bag is a smooth, solid, strong, single crochet bag - even the handles are integrated.

  The second step was making a great lining. The bottom is squared off and reinforced with thick iron-on interfacing, which helps keep the bottom of the bag flat, even when it's loaded down.

I was worried that the top edge of the bag would buckle around the snap when it was full and you picked it up by the handles.  As reinforcement, I added boning along the top edges.  The boning is light-weight, but still strong enough to keep the crisp line across the top of the bag when it's snapped shut.

The bird embellishments are inspired by the lining fabric and are pretty much embroidered freehand.  The embroidered "handmade by futuregirl" tags are created by printing out the letters on paper using the font from my blog.  Then I trace it onto see-through tear-away stabilizer, embroider over that, and then (kinda) tear it away.  Be warned:  tear-away stabilizer is meant to be on the back of machine embroidery, not the front of hand embroidery.  The labels in these purses were done with one strand of brown floss.  I almost ripped them right out of the fabric when I tried to tear away the stabilizer.  My heart fucking stopped.  Ugh!  Luckily just a couple of the stitches had been pulled funny and that was easily fixed.  Now I carefully use my manicure scissors and tweezers to remove the stabilizer.

One of my favorite parts of the whole process is sewing the lining into the
bag.  First I pin the lining in, then I hand stitch around one single crochet stitch, bring the needle in and out of the top fold of the lining (so the thread is inside the folded top edge of the lining), then around the next stitch, etc.  It comes out looking so nice and smooth - like it was machine sewn.  The stitches don't even pull when you unsnap the purse - they are super sturdy and secure.  And, of course, I have my handy dandy snap tool to do the snaps now.

It's a great feeling to have done all this work and end up with a bag that I'm really proud of.  It's an even better feeling to have people to share them with. :)
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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tutorial: Paper Clip Stitch Markers

I've decided to embrace my inner cheapskate and add to my paper clip stitch marker stash.  For all you thrifty chicks who want some inexpensive, colorful stitch markers, here's how I make them ...
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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Large and Medium Bags

The tiny bird bag is all grown up. I've been crocheting up a storm.  The large bag is 13" across at the top, 7.5" high to the bottom of the handles, and 3.5" deep across the flat bottom.  The medium bag is 11.5" across at the top, 6" high to the bottom of the handles, and 3" deep across the flat bottom.  I'm working on a small version right now. They'll be like a set of Russian nesting dolls.
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Thursday, August 10, 2006

The littlest birds, sing the prettiest songs

This tiny seamless bag is in single crochet.  It measures a mere 4" wide, 7" tall, and 3" deep.  I engineered a new "single crochet no-seam" technology, so this one has less of a bump at the slip stitch join than the Super Bad bag.  I used single crochet to make the bag more rigid to help it stand up on it's flat bottom. Single crochet also produces a relatively flat ground for embroidery and applique. For the embelishments, I more or less just copied the bird cage and bird from my new uber excellent bird fabric.  The little bird came out unbelievably cute!

Being a prototype, I made it tiny.  It's easier to frog a tiny bag over and over (and over).  Plus, I was obsessively counting each stitch during the flat bottom development so I wouldn't wonk up the corners of the rectangle.  If there are too many stitches to count, I end up having to count out loud so I don't lose my place.  Am I the only person that skips double numbers (like 33) or jumps ten numbers (28, 29, 30, 41, 42)? Probably.

The bag isn't lined yet ... it's barely big enough to hold a soda can, so I'm not sure how practical it is.  I'm definitely going to make a human sized bag.  I think it would be cool to line the bag with the bird fabric.   I'm also dreaming of a zippered pouch/wallet to match, but the idea of tackling zippers - ugh.

If anyone knows about any great zipper tutorials or zipper help, let me know (I'll be googling when the time comes).  I can get away with not joining crochet pieces, but I won't be able to avoid zippers forever.

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The title of this post, The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs, is borrowed from a Jolie Holland song. She is incredible. Her music is described as "spooky American fairytales" - I couldn't have said it better.  I encourage you to at least give her a listen.
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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Super Bad Bag

What did I do when I found this cigarette ad tucked inside a book at a thrift store:

1) Ask myself why I was flipping through the Woman's Day Encylcopedia of Cookery (Vol. 9 Pec-Pur) from 1966?

2) Notice that the back of the ad was full of winning recipes from a 1972 soul food bread contest and bake up a storm?

3) See the crochet vest on the foxy babe and think to myself, "I could make that!"

You probably already know the answer to this question ... it's #3. I'm glad that the sweater didn't work out, because I would have had a hell of a time finding matching lime green tights.

In a testament to my whim of iron, I have created one super bad bag!  The bag is in single crochet and was made in one piece like my crochet purse (no seams!). The letters are cross-stitched on the front. Color changes were made using separate skeins of yarn. While crocheting the chevron, I looked like a crochet-machine with 5 different skeins feeding into my hands.

The words "Super Bad" have a different connotation depending on whether you see the design as superhero-y or cheerleader-y, but either way it's a crack up.  The whole thing is so ridiculous, which is my favorite part.

The bag is the perfect size for a magazine and a bottle of water for the park ... or maybe a Japanese stuffie book and some sewing supplies. I need to find a super-bad fabric to go inside.
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Monday, July 10, 2006

Defeated by a Sweater

Yes, I have given up on this sweater. Sigh.  This was my first attempt at crocheting clothes.

PROS (1) I designed it. (2) It actually fit.  I was totally amazed by this.  It's part of the reason why I let things go so far. (3) I love the colors.  Purple and lime green! (3) The V design is really cute when I have the sweater on. (4) I figured out how to do tapestry crochet on this project, even though I didn't end up doing the color changes that way.

CONS (1) The sweater weighs about 150 pounds.  I wanted a tight weave, but that means more yarn per square inch. I could wear this as body armor.  No knives or bullets would make it though that weave, which is good since I wouldn't be very nimble wearing such a heavy sweater. (2) I can't join crochet pieces worth a damn.  I tried to follow the Happy Hooker instructions for joining crochet, but they include words like 'sorta' and 'kinda' and, since I am a robot-crafter who requires precise instructions, I failed to acheive the zen-like frame of mind it takes to smoothly join the front to the back. (3) The garment design is off just a little, but it's enough to make it look weird.  The arm holes are a too big.  The V neck goes too low. It's like when you are watching a movie and you can tell the difference between the actors playing humans and the actors playing aliens who are pretending to be humans because the actors playing aliens that are pretending to be humans walk a little funny, talk a little funny, and are generally just a little wrong, even though they still look human.  This sweater is like that.

The yarn already has a new project waiting ... after the frogging.  I think the next project (non-clothes) will be successful.  I also think that if I attempt to crochet clothes again, I better use a pattern.
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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Seamless Crochet Purse

This purse has been in the works since I finished the clutch.   I've been on a mission to design a better purse. Now that I've finally finished it there are so many things I want to talk about.
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Friday, May 19, 2006

Crocheted Clutch

See that owl? It was part of a necklace I bought on the sidewalk last weekend. It's a three-piece articulated owl that I just couldn't pass up, even though it's way too big to wear as a necklace.
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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Blue Pillow and More Movies

Here is the pillow I made during the film festival. I used a standard size pillow for the inside. The cover is single crochet using a double strands of a terry-like acrylic yarn.
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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Nigel Grinchgibbons, Monkey

Introducing Nigel Grinchgibbons. I made this wonderful monkey for my husband when we were still dating. How much of a nerd am I?
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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Loopy Crochet

I've had the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework since Junior High. In this book is the coolest looking crochet loop stitch. Once every couple years I'll do a swatch of it and then remember - ugh! - that if you pull on the swatch at all the loops just pull through. The crochet loop fabric just won't hold together.
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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Winter Cuddles on the Couch

We moved into this apartment last January. It has high ceilings and huge windows on all of the walls. All winter we sat shivering on the couch watching movies as we felt cold air emanating from the windows. Sometimes we would even drag our feather comforter into the living room. I decided that it was time to make a blanket for myself.
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Friday, February 03, 2006

Afghans from the Archive

Here are some of the blankets I made in the 90s. I didn't always remember to take pictures before giving blankets to friends and family, but these lucky blankets were photographed AND I filed them under "crafts."
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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Story of the Legwarmers

My husband and I planned to take the train up to New York for the day. He had work to do, so I was going to be left to explore the city alone for most of the day. To prepare, since I knew it would be super-cold, I made myself a pair of leg warmers. I used an afghan crochet stitch that I've always loved that came from a vintage afghan booklet of my grandmother's. The pattern looks great in those the colors.

They were a smash hit in NY. They were super warm. I felt a little goofy, like I was back in my alterna-teens, "Why is everyone looking at me?" I was totally thrilled, though, when my husband heard one girl (near NYU) say, "I need to get some legwarmers." as we passed her and her friend. At least not everyone was thinking I was a dork. :)

I went to Kinokuniya. They didn't have the stuffie book I was hoping to get, but I found an alternative stuffie book (who hand sews a felt replica toilet? maybe me.) and I also bought the excellent japanese purse book that I've seen in almost everyone's online library (the one with the bird purse). The purse book is even more wonderful than I'd imagined.
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Friday, January 13, 2006

Quick No-Pattern Headband

A friend asked for a crocheted headband to keep her ears warm. I sat down to make my prototype and got it right on the first try.

I started with a row of chains twice as wide as I wanted the finished headband. Then I used a *single crochet, chain* stitch. The next row you make the single crochet stitches in the chain spaces. This creates a fluffy and stretchy fabric. I made enough rows that the strip fit around my head. I folded the strip so that the right and left edges were together and single crocheted the edge closed. Then I hand-sewed the seam to make it a circle.

Amazingly it was exactly right! I was able to finish the whole project in about an hour. And my friend loves the headband. Since it's double-thick, it's super warm.
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Friday, December 30, 2005

Hat and Scarf with crochet flower

I have this super soft blue, dark blue, and cream yarn I bought with the intention of making a blanket for our bed, but I decided I needed a hat, and then a scarf. I made both of these on Saturday. Below is a close-up of the scarf which was crocheted holding two strands of yarn together - the dark blue of the flower and the light blue of the hat. The flower is double strands of chains for petals, so it's quite 3-D.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Crochet Madness

I just got a book "101 Easy Tunisian Stitches."  I sure would hate to see the hard stitches. The first one I tried was an interlocking shell stitch in two colors. It's the one on the cover on the right in purple and pink. The first problem is that each row's instructions are one sentence with commas and semi colons. Really, they should be using periods here and there. The second problem, is there appears to be commas missing, for example, "... , skip next ch on last row behind st just made, pull up lp in ch before next shell, ..." My husband asked me what was going on when he found me tangled in my two skeins of yarn muttering over and over, "skip next ch on last row behind st just made" putting the emphasis on different words each time to see if I could figure out exactly what was meant.

I totally should have taken pictures of the work-in-progress, because the first version of the shells was hilarious. I'm not in the hang of craft blogging yet, so you don't get any pix of drunk spider's webs today. The second try was much better and actually looked like the picture of the stitch, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I am still not doing it exactly like the instructions intend because I never did anything with a stitch on the last row behind a stitch I just made.

With most things, not just crafts, I do things wrong the first time. I actually expect to do things wrong the first time. I call them prototypes. Sometimes by doing it wrong I discover a better or different way to do the 'thing.' Sometimes I should wait until I figure out what the instructions mean (my husband's desk has a couple of extra drill holes in the keyboard tray, "Does this look upside down?"). But it seems like I learn better when I do something wrong the first time and then come back and try it again.

I didn't think I was going to get introspective tonight, but I should learn something from that. When I try a new crochet stitch and get it all wrong and then try it again (and again and again and again) there are no feelings of insecurity or failure or embarrassment. It's almost a joy to have done it wrong the first time and then eventually figure it out. It wouldn't be half as fun to always do things right the first time.

I should remember that when I do other things in life -  everything else in life.
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