Sunday, December 29, 2013

Felt Wise: Crocheted, Felted Little Owl Bag

Sometimes, I can spend hours searching the web for interesting crochet patterns.  As I've mentioned before, I really like the blog, Moogly.  Blogger Tamara Kelly has some wonderful free crochet patterns. Over the holidays, I used a simple Moogly pattern for stars to create some crocheted jewelry.

Another great place to find excellent free crochet patterns is Ravelry.  I found an adorable owl key chain pattern by Yarn Artists. I used the pattern as a model to create this crocheted, felted owl wristlet. Basically, I just crocheted the owl on a much larger scale using bulky-weight, wool yarn.  Instead of embroidering a beak, I crocheted a triangle and sewed it in place. I attached a two-piece, metal hook and eye clasp to the top, providing an easy way to keep the purse closed. I also made a wrist strap equipped with a lobster clasp that can be attached to the ring portion of a toggle clasp that I sewed to the bag.

This little bag is just large enough to carry my keys, a bit of cash, my ID, and some chap stick. :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Scrap Happy: Felted Crocheted Brooches from Wool Yarn "Leftovers"

As you may recall, I've been a bit obsessed with felting in these cooler (well, recently COLD) months.  As a result, I've developed quite a collection of "leftover" wool yarn from my felting projects.  I thought I'd experiment a bit and see what I might be able to use them for. With all the spending on holiday gifts, it's nice to come up with ideas for things I can create using materials I have at hand.

I've mentioned before that I really love Paton's ColorWul for felting because of the color mixes that result in the finished piece. I used some of the scraps of that yarn that I had accumulated to crochet and then felt five different motifs - two different types of leaves, a triangle, a flower, and an oval.  Here are photos of four of those shapes, unadorned, before doing any additional embellishment.

They are from two and a half to five inches in length.  I decided to use them to create larger brooches or pins that can be used on scarves, bags, coats, sweaters, or wherever you might want an accent accessory that stands out as unique and colorful.  (I guess maybe I am a little bit obsessed with brooches as well as felting.)

The first brooch that I've finished utilized the other leaf shape that I crocheted and felted.  The Paton's ColorWul shade here is Ocean.  The reddish border around the leaf edge was created as a result of slip stitching around the edge of the leaf before felting.  The red color is one of the colors of the striping in the yarn.  I embellished the basic leaf shape by embroidering red glass beads down the center vein. I then used metallic embroidery floss in a blended shade (Caribbean Ripples from the DMC Light Effects Blended Favorites Floss Pack), that picks up the colors of the yarn, to chain stitch the veins that fan out from the center, as well as for the stem.

I hand sewed a pin back to thick wool felt, and then sewed that to the back of the leaf shape to complete the brooch.

So, one down and four to go!  This was an enjoyable project and I am looking forward to coming up with fun ideas for completing the rest of the brooches.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Are the Stars Out Tonight? Yes! In this Crocheted Star Jewelry

One of my favorite crochet websites is Tamara Kelly's blog, Moogly.    Recently, she posted her pattern for Glittery Crochet Stars.  They looked so simple, yet so pretty.  I immediately thought about their potential use in jewelry.  As I've said before, I really like the look and feel of thin wire and metallic thread crocheted together, so I decided to try crocheting Tamara Kelly's stars using those materials.  I love the way they turned out!  I combined them with Swarovski crystal stars to create this necklace in silvery shades and this bracelet in gold and burgundy.

I have some Christmasy gold, green, and red metallic thread.  I think I'll combine it with red wire and try some holiday star earrings next!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Just the Essentials, Please - Little Felted Bags that Carry Just What You Need

Looking over my posts for the past couple of months (and yes, I realize I've been delinquent in posting lately, but I am just so baconey* busy), you might come to the conclusion that I've become obsessed with felting.  While I've tried purchasing and recycling old wool sweaters by felting them and making them into new creations, I have to say I find it more enjoyable to create new crochet designs and felt them. Recently, I created some new, small, felted bags that I crochet all in one piece, in a manner somewhat similar to the Simple Felted Crocheted Purse, for which I posted the pattern in October.

I call these new little purses my "Just the Essentials" bags, because they are designed to carry your phone, your keys, your id and/or credit cards, and a bit of cash (depending on the size of your phone, you might also fit in your lip gloss) -- only the things you really need when you are out and about and don't want to be saddled with a big, heavy purse.  The bags have a long strap, so you can wear them cross-body or over your shoulder. All of the one-of-a-kind embellishments on these bitty felted bags are either crocheted and then sewn onto the purse, or embroidered directly on the purse.

I took these photos using my phone at Art Is In Market at Laurel Park Place Mall where I have the purses for sale. I apologize for the quality of the pictures, but they're the best I could do with my phone (I forgot my camera -- another "bacon*" event I'll chalk up to being overwhelmingly busy).

If you have any questions about these little purses, or are interested in having one custom made, just for you, please get in touch. :)

*Note: "Bacon" is my son's substitute for a whole variety of expletives. Hence, the title of his comic strip, "Bleeping Bacon Bits".  I kind of like it, so I've adopted it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Holiday Galleria - Help Those in Need and Get Your Holiday Shopping Done, Too

This Saturday, November 16, from 10am-3pm, you'll find me at the Holiday Galleria in Dearborn.  Held at the First Presbyterian Church of Dearborn, this is the events second year.  I really enjoyed doing it last year and I'm sure I will again this year.  They have a wonderful selection of diverse gifts (as many local craft shows and artisan markets do), but this event offers another important plus -- all of the money that the Presbyterian Women (the ladies who run the show) raise from this event goes directly into their fund that supports charities for women and children in the Metro Detroit area. You can get your holiday shopping done and help the many women and children in our communities who need your assistance and support at the same time! Not a bad way to spend the day, or your money.

Here are just a few of the artists, crafters, and vendors you'll find at the Holiday Galleria and some of their work:
Nancy DeHamer - beautiful handmade wine and gift bags, and Christmas stockings

Me, of course,  Gossamer Tangles - Handmade jewelry and accessories

Laura Fawaz, The World Captured - Fine Art Photography

Carolyn Lynett - Fiber Artist

Brian Mayer - Laser cut and engraved music boxes
Judy Marks - Metal work, glass and stone jewelry
These are just the tip of the iceberg! You can find hand-painted chocolates, children's gifts, glass and ceramics, Christmas decor, and so much more!  Come by on Saturday and check it out.  You can even grab lunch and a chair massage while you're there. :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New Designs - Different Extremities - Crocheted Fingerless Mitts

Last week I was working on crocheted boot cuffs (leg accessories), this week I've switched to crocheted fingerless mitts (arm/hand accessories).   I was quite happy with the way these granny square mitts turned out.  I saw some fingerless mitts in the Sundance catalog that I really liked, and decided to see if I could make something similar.  These granny square mitts were what I came up with.

This next pair of mitts is a bit more on the "lady like" side.  They have kind of a lacy, ruffled look, and they are more close-fitting.

I wish I had time to share more, but things are just crazy!! I am trying to get ready for the Lindbergh Holiday Boutique this Saturday (November 9, 2013), and things are really gearing up for the holidays at Art Is In Market, where I also sell my work.  In fact, their holiday kick off is also November 9.  I am spending every minute I can with hook in hand.

Art Is In Market provided me with some new display shelves.  They're from Ikea.  My daughter, Betsy, helped me put them together and set them up last weekend.  I think they provide a more clean, polished look for my store display.  

Time to get back to crocheting!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Show & Tell: Crocheted Boot Cuffs and Brooches

I've been busy, busy, busy -- trying to get my inventory up for upcoming holiday shows and for my display at Art Is In Market at Laurel Park Place Mall.  Just thought I would share some photos of a few of the things I made this week.

Back in July, I shared a tutorial on making crocheted brooches that I modeled on a pattern by Erika Knight, from her wonderful book Simple Crocheting: A Complete How-to-Crochet Workshop with 20 Projects (2012). This week I made six new brooches/clips using that basic idea:

Two of these crocheted brooches/clips have literary themes.  I incorporated some really cute little book charms that I found which feature a couple of my favorite reads.

Three others I made in a more classic design.  For obvious reasons, I call them my "poofy pins".

And then, last but not least, I made one that looks both like a star and a flower.

On all of them I used a combination pin and clip back.  This makes them very versatile. They can be worn like a brooch, or clipped in your hair or onto a purse.

The other item that I would like to stock for the holidays, and started making this week ,is crocheted boot cuffs.  Here is my daughter modeling the first pair I made.  Boots are so popular this year, I thought these would be a great gift item.

So that's it -- my show and tell of this week's creations.  Time to get back to my hooks and threads. :)