Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Spring: Crocheted Spring Flower Earrings - Free Pattern

It is FINALLY starting to look and feel like spring!  Today was sunny and the temperature was in the 50's.  Many of the birds have returned.  Every few minutes I could hear the Red-Winged Blackbirds calling from the trees. On our walk, my dogs really enjoyed exploring all the new, unfolding scents
In honor of today's spring feeling, I designed and made a pair of Crocheted Spring Flower Earrings.  I'm sharing the pattern here.  Make them! Wear them! Celebrate the arrival of warmth, growing things, and longer, brighter days!

And, as a special little spring into springiness, I am having a GIVEAWAY.  The winner will receive the pair of earrings I made in developing this pattern - the pair pictured here.  You will be entered in the giveaway if you:
  • (1) "LIKE" my Gossamer Tangles Facebook Page, or
  • (2) if you join/become a follower of this blog (click on Followers icon on right edge of blog screen), or
  • (3) if you leave a comment to this blog post below. 
The giveaway contest begins when I publish this post and ends at midnight on Thursday, April 4. Only new activity qualifies for entry so, for example, if you are already a Facebook fan and you already follow this blog, you need to leave a comment to enter.  I will randomly draw the name of a winner from those who have entered and publish the winner's name here next Friday, April 5, 2013.  I'll cover the shipping cost (for this reason, sorry but only US residents are eligible).  I will get in touch with the winner to get an address.

Here's the pattern.  I would say it is appropriate for crocheters of intermediate skill. I would love to see photos if anyone makes a pair.  Just post them on my Facebook Page or in the comments here.

Spring Flower Crocheted Earrings
by Angela Saylor
(Feel free to use and share this pattern for any purpose,
but please link back to this blog post and give credit to the designer. Thank you!)

C-Lon Cord – 1 spool Moss (A) and 1 spool Amethyst (B) (or two colors of your choice)
40 – size 11 seed beads in Green Iris (metallic dark) (or color of your choice)

2 – 20mm (2cm) pressed Czech glass leaf beads (I used olive)

2- ½ inch translucent plastic rings
2 – 5mm silver jump rings

2 – Flower earring studs w/ loop (I used Cousin’s Plated Silver Elegance brand)

Size 2 steel crochet hook

2 pair of needle nose pliers (or whatever type of jewelry pliers you feel comfortable with to open and close the jump rings).
Small tapestry needle

Directions (make 2):        
On spool A, string 10 seed beads, 1 glass leaf bead, 10 seed beads.

Round 1: (WS) Using A, attach the cord to the hook using a slip knot.  Insert the hook through one of the rings, yarn over, pull the yarn through the ring (so you now have 2 loops on the hook).  Push a seed bead up to the loops, against the ring, yarn over and pull through both loops.

(Photos demonstrate steps in making a beaded single crochet)


You have now completed one beaded single crochet (bsc).  The bead appears on the right side of the work (facing away from you).
Make 9 more bsc around the plastic ring (10 bsc). 
Chain 1, move glass leaf bead up to chain, make another loose chain stitch (capturing the leaf bead in the stitch). Make 10 more bsc in the ring.  Join with sl st to first bsc. Fasten off.

Round 2: Turn ring over so that the right side (side with beads) is facing you.  Using B, attach the cord to the hook using a slip knot.  Attach to Round 1 by making a sc in the 11th bsc of Round 1 (first stitch after the glass leaf bead was attached).  Ch 2. Trc in the next two bsc. Ch 2. Sc in next bsc. (First petal completed.) *Sc in next bsc. Ch 2. Trc in next two bsc. Ch 2. Sc in next bsc.* Repeat from * to *, three more times, ending in the 10th bsc of Round 1 (last stitch before glass leaf bead was attached).

5 petals made.  Join with sl st (working in front of leaf bead attachment) to first sc in round.  Fasten off.
Use the tapestry needle to weave in ends and cut off any excess.

Use pliers to open a jump ring. Slide one side of jump ring through the top loop of one of the trc in the petal at the top of the flower (directly across the ring from the leaf bead). Slide the loop of the earring stud onto the jump ring also.  Close the jump ring.  Be sure that the right side of your flower and the right side of your earring stud are facing the same direction.

sl st = slip stitch
bsc = beaded single crochet
ch = chain
trc = treble/triple crochet

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Easter Funny: Bleeping Bacon Bits

My son, Tony, has been creating a comic strip, Bleeping Bacon Bits, for the Eastern Echo (Eastern Michigan University's newspaper) "funny page" since the Fall of 2011.  It's about the two college roommates, Gasser and Kenny, at a fictional university in a very weird and whimsical world.  Tony just sent in his "Easter" comic for publication in one of this week's editions of the paper.  It tickled my fancy and my funny bone, so I asked him if I could print it here.  He agreed and here it is:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Colorful, Comfortable Open Work Crochet Scarves: The Perfect Spring and Summer Accessory

As I mentioned toward the end of  last week's post, I've started creating a line of lighter, open work crocheted scarves. 
Light Open Weave Crochet Infinity Scarf in Coral Celery Teal Ivory
Although they would not provide much warmth as protection from the cold if worn outdoors in the winter months, they are perfect to wear as a fashion accent all year long.  This is particularly true in the summer months when scarves made with a denser stitch or heavier material would be uncomfortable.  I'm just about to finish a custom-ordered scarf in this open work style in shades of gray, white and silver.  Here are some photos of the scarf in progress.

The response to this design has been enthusiastic, and so I plan to make several more of the light weight scarves, both infinity style and traditional style in a variety of color combinations.  Today I started putting yarn/fiber combinations together.  These are the ten I've come up with so far:

All use some form of yarn with the little "flags" of fabric on it -- giving that sort of raggy look to the finished scarf.  I've chosen a variety of types of yarn or thread to combine with it - nylon, cotton, rayon, hemp, some with a little hint of metallic thread.  While the design of each scarf will be almost identical, each will be one of a kind because of the unique fiber and color combinations used in their creation.

If anyone has ideas about which combinations would look best as infinity (continuous circle) style scarves or as traditional (open-ended) scarves, just leave me a comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Connections - The Stitches that Bind and Remind

Last week, I wrote about my new kiss clasp purses.  My mom saw my post. When she saw me the following day, she pulled out a tiny and very old kiss clasp purse to show me.  It was over one hundred years old and belonged to my great great grandmother, Mary Lucinda (Williams) Ellinwood.  The daughter of a Civil War veteran, Edward Williams, she was born in Greene County, Indiana on March 11, 1877 (that's 136 years ago).  She was called "Lulu". She loved quilting and my mom explained to me that she always carried her quilting needle in her pocket in this little kiss clasp purse.


As you can see, the purse was very small -- only about two inches deep.

I actually knew Grandma Ellinwood.  She was still living at the time I was born.  In fact, there were five generations of women on my mom's side of the family that were alive at the time that I was born.  Because that was fairly unusual, a picture was taken of the five generations for our local paper.  I'm the baby in the photo.

My Great Great Grandma Ellinwood died on July 3, 1966, just before I turned eight years old. I can  still remember her quite well, including the fireworks displays in the dark night sky as we headed home to Michigan from Ohio following her funeral.

Seeing my great great grandmother's quilting needle purse caused me to reflect upon the interesting connections between those five generations of women in my family.  I had just created four new kiss clasp purses, and my great great grandmother had actually used a similar little bag to carry around her prized quilting needle. My grandmother, who taught me to crochet (a skill I used in making the embellishments for my kiss clasp purses) was also an avid quilter, like her Grandma Ellinwood. And it was my mother (practicing a skill handed down from generation to generation in her family), who taught me how to sew, giving me the means to actually make those kiss clasp purses.  I should also mention that my great grandmother (second from the left in the photo) was a talented artisan.  I remember that she made beautiful beaded flowers.  Maybe that is where I got my love of beads -- another element in my little purses.  I'm sure there are many more connections I could draw.  It gives an added dimension to my work when I can see these small but meaningful connections of time and family.

I wanted to share a couple of other things in this post.  I've added two new items to my Etsy shop today.  The first is a necklace featuring star-filled rings.  This is a bit different than the pieces I usually make.  I love the silver and blue combination, and it was a lot of fun to work out the design for the rings.

The second item is a very lightweight, open weave infinity scarf.  It's perfect for spring and summer.


I plan to create more of these scarves, both in traditional and infinity styles, in a variety of colors and light weight fibers for the warmer months ahead.

Finally, here are a couple of photos from last weekend's Artists' Market at Leon & Lulu.   I met some wonderful artists and as always, I just love being there.  The people who work there are wonderful and they do so much for the community.  It is inspiring.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Kiss Clasp Purses with Crocheted Embellishments

Gossamer Tangles is introducing a new product line this week -- kiss clasp purses!  I have always loved bags with this type of closure, so I decided to make a few and add a twist of Gossamer Tangles' style. I found a few web tutorials to be helpful when learning how to put these bags together.  The one on the Charise Creates blog was particularly good at teaching how to create your own pattern. Two others that I found to be helpful in terms of providing advice on how to sew the bags together were the Moda Bake Shop and  Sew 4 Home tutorials.

I created four small bags. Each has unique crocheted and beaded embellishments. These could be used as change purses, or to carry lipstick, credit cards, and other small items.  They'd be great to just stick in your coat pocket when you don't want to carry a larger bag, but need to take along a few essentials.




I also made one larger bag.  This one is perfect for spring and summer. The floral print fabric reminds me of some of the fabric patterns I saw when touring historic homes in Charleston, South Carolina a few years ago.

These new kiss clasp bags will be for sale at the Spring Artists' Market at Leon and Lulu in Clawson, MI this weekend - Sunday, March 10 and Monday, March 11, 2013.