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. :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Felting Furbelows

"Furbelow" -- cool word, huh?  For those wondering what it means, "furbelow" is both a noun and a verb. The Oxford Dictionary defines "furbelows" as "showy ornaments or trimmings", and to "furbelow" something means to "adorn [it] with trimmings".

Inspired by an article I read on felting in the Learning Center on LionBrand.com titled Tips and Techniques: Fabulous Felt,  I decided to try some "furbelow" experiments with my felting and was quite surprised and happy with the results.  Basically, what I tried was adding some novelty yarn, that I knew would not felt, to a couple of bags that I crocheted from wool yarn and intended to felt.  I wanted to see what would happen when the felting and non-felting fibers went through the felting process together.

First, I tried adding Lion Brand "Fun Fur" to the edge of a bag before felting it.  I simply crocheted a row of single crochet/chain/single crochet around the top edge.  When I felted it, the "Fun Fur" made a fluffy edge, embedded in the dense felted wool of the bag's body.  Unfortunately, I don't have a photo to share. :(  I took the bag to Art Is In Market as part of my inventory and I forgot to photograph it first.  I was going to take a picture the next time I went in to work, but it sold right away -- which is fantastic, but it also meant that I didn't get the chance to take a photo at the store, either.  You'll have to take my word for it.  It looked very cool and I plan to try it again (and take a photo!).

The second "furbelow" experiment I tried with a felted bag was a bit more daring.  This time, I used Paton's Classic Wool Worsted to crochet the purse, but I added stripes of Trendsetter "Iris", a novelty polyamide/acrylic eyelash yarn, as I went.  The wool portion of the bag was crocheted entirely in single crochets.  The stripes were done as a row of alternating slip stitch/chain stitch.  Finally, along the flap edge, I used the wool and novelty yarn together (as a double strand) to crochet fringe.  The fringe pattern was simple: Slip stitch in the flap edge, 9 chain stitches, then a slip stitch in the second chain from the hook and each chain back to the flap edge, slip stitch in the next stitch on the edge; repeating this pattern to the end of the flap. As I went along with the fringe, I added a chain loop with the wool yarn only, to allow for a loop and button close on the purse.

Here are photos of how the bag looked before I felted it:

And here are the photos after felting.  I added a removable chain strap and a metal button.

I call it my "Wild Child" bag!  I think its pretty fun.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Of Collars and Cowls - A New Crocheted Necklace Design and a Couple of Neck Warmers

I came up with a new crocheted, beaded necklace design last week.  It is a collar-type necklace and features Swarovski crystal pearls.  As I've mentioned before, I like to combine wire and fiber in many of my pieces because of the interesting texture it creates, as well as the flexibility and durability it gives the finished jewelry.  In this necklace, I used a combination of 30-gauge, non-tarnish silver wire and gunmetal metallic thread.

I guess it was the week for neck accessories because, in addition to this crocheted collar necklace, I also made a couple of crocheted cowls.  The first of these neck warmers is my own design and uses a simple "v" stitch pattern with a large, scalloped edge.  I found some very cute, etched metal heart buttons at Jo-Ann's that I though went well with the pattern and the colors in the chunky wool and acrylic blend yarn.

The other cowl that I crocheted was made in Filatura di Crosa's Gioiello, a beautiful merino, kid mohair, cotton, acrylic, and nylon blend yarn.  I love the little hints of metallic silver in this yarn! For this one, I used a pattern designed by Edie Eckman titled "Easy-to-Wear Cowl", published in Crochet One-Skein Wonders, edited by Judith Durant and Edie Eckman.

One final thing before I end my "show and tell" for this week.  If you looked at last week's post in which I published my pattern for a Simple Felted Crocheted Purse, I mention the idea of doing something to embellish the bag once it is completed.  Just wanted to show you what I ended up doing with the one I photographed for the tutorial.  I cut leaves from wool felt and appliqued them onto the bag using a decorative edge stitch done in embroidery thread.  I then used cotton embroidery thread to embroider a whimsical design on each leaf, using the chain stitch.  I like the way it turned out -- especially the way the colors in the embroidery thread picked up the colors in the felted wool yarn.

So those are my creations for the last week. I hope that whatever you create this week, you immerse yourself in the process and truly enjoy it!

Monday, October 7, 2013

How to Make a Simple Felted Crocheted Purse

If you read this blog with regularity, you know I've kind of been obsessed with felting this fall.  I've recycled used, wool sweaters by felting them and turning them into iPad cozies, and I've also been crocheting and felting handbags of various sizes and shapes.  In the course of doing the latter, I've come up with a design for a very simple, one skein, felted crocheted purse ... so, I thought I would share the pattern and a photo tutorial for anyone who would like to try it.

The good things about this pattern:
  • It only takes one skein of yarn.
  • You only need to know a couple of stitches: chain (ch), single crochet (sc), single crochet two together (sc2tog), and slip stitch (sl st).
  • The bag is crocheted all in one piece, strap and all, so you only have your beginning and ending yarn ends to work in.
  • It's versatile, because you can embellish it anyway you'd like.
  • Felting is a very forgiving technique, so perfection is not required for good results. 

Simple Felted Crocheted Purse

1 skein Paton's Classic Wool Worsted (100% wool, 3.5 oz/100g, 210 yd/192 m)
1-inch button (or size needed)
coordinating sewing thread for button

Size K crochet hook (gauge is not really important to this project unless you are very particular about your finished bag size)
Yarn needle
Washing machine
small amount of dish soap

Chain (ch) 31.

Foundation round: (Basically, this round will be worked in both sides of the chain, working around the chain.) Work 3 single crochets (sc) in 2nd ch from hook.

Work 1 sc in each of the next 28 ch.

Work 3 sc in the last ch.

Then, working down the other side of the chain: Work 3sc in the other side of the 1st ch (same one in which you worked the last 3 sc).

Work 1 sc in each of the next 28 ch (corresponding to the sc you initially worked on the first side of the ch).

Work 3 sc in the the last ch (same as the beginning ch in which you initially worked the first 3 sc), and join with a slip stitch (sl st) to the first sc. (68 single crochets total)

This is the finished foundation round.
Body of Bag - Rounds 1-28 (or until your piece measures approximately 8 inches from the foundation chain to the top edge):   For each round, ch 1, sc in joining (first) sc and in each sc around. Join with a sl st to the first sc in the round. Total of 68 sc in each round. (Note that at the beginning of each round, you will be chaining one and doing a single crochet in the first stitch. The chain does not count as a stitch, nor does the slip stitch.  You should always be working into the 68 sc of the previous round.) .  Do not fasten off.

Bag Flap:
At this point, lay the body of the bag out flat, right side out.  You will notice that the place where your last round ended is not even with the side fold of the body of the bag (see photo below).

Before, working the flap, it is important to bring your hook and yarn over to the side fold of the bag.  To accomplish this, with your hook still in the loop from the joining sl st, turn the bag and work a slip stitch in each sc back to the point where your hook with the loop on it is even with the side fold (i.e., where the side seam would be if there was one), as shown in the photo below.  For me, this took 4 slip stitches, but it could be a bit more or less.  Just be sure you are at the fold when you begin your flap rows.

Rows 1-11 - Flap: For each row, ch 1, work 1 sc in each stitch, working across one side of the body of the bag (Total of  34 sc.) Turn.

Row 12 - Flap: Ch 1, sc2tog in first 2 sc, sc in each of next 30 stitches, sc2tog in last 2 stitches.

(32 stitches total).  Turn.

Row 13 - Flap: Ch 1, sc in each sc across (32 sc). Turn.

Row 14 - Flap: Ch 1, sc2tog in first 2 sc, sc in each of next 28 stitches, sc2tog in last 2 stitches. (30 stitches total). Turn.

Row 15 - Flap: Ch 1, sc in each sc across (30 sc).Turn.

Row 16 - Flap: Ch 1, sc2tog in first 2 sc, sc in each of next 26 stitches, sc2tog in last 2 stitches. (28 stitches total). Turn.

Row 17- Flap: Ch 1, sc in each sc across (28 sc).Turn.

Row 18 - Flap: Ch 1, sc2tog in first 2 sc, sc in each of next 24 stitches, sc2tog in last 2 stitches. (26 stitches total). Do not turn. Do not fasten off.
Completed flap viewed from back of bag.

Side of flap.
Edging, Strap, Button Loop: From where you left off, turn the bag sideways and begin slip stitching down the side of the flap.

Continue to place slip stitches evenly along the edge of the flap, keeping it flat, until you reach the point where the flap meet the body of the bag.

Strap - Row 1:  Slip stitch into first sc beyond the flap, on the side top edge of bag's body (right at the side fold, i.e., where the side seam would fall if there was a side seam). Then work 130 chain stitches.

Attach the last chain stitch with a slit stitch to the top edge of the body of the bag meets the flap on the other side, creating a strap.

Strap - Row 2: Ch 1, working back across the strap, work 1 sc in each chain.


Join with a sl st in the sc at the top edge of the body where you began the strap chain.

Continue edging: After attaching the sc row of the strap with the slip stitch at the side, continue to work slip stitches evenly across the top front edge of the bag .(Note: You are now working toward the side of the flap that does not have the sl st edging).

When you reach the spot where the strap is joined to the bag, continue evenly working slip stitches past the strap and up the edge of the flap.

When you reach the top edge of the flap, continue with the slip stitches around the corner and work 13 slip stitches along the top edge of the flap (bringing you to the center of the top edge).

Loop for Button Close:  Ch 16, join with a slip stitch in the next sc on the top edge.

Finish Edging: Continue to work slip stitches in the last 12 sc.  Join with sl st to first sl st of the edging.

 Fasten off.  Work in yarn ends.

The photo above shows the finished bag before felting.  The dimensions are: Body is 8 inches deep and 10 3/4 inches wide; flap is 4 3/4 inches long; the strap is 55 inches long and about 5/8 inch wide; the button loop measures 2 1/2 inches, top to bottom.

Felting:  Put the finished crocheted purse in a lingerie bag or pillow case with the opening tied shut. Place it in your washing machine with a pair of jeans, or some other heavy piece of clothing to provide improved agitation of the fibers.  Add a small squirt of dishwashing soap, and set the machine to its hottest water temperature and lowest water level settings.  Turn on the machine and let it run through the complete cycle.
When you remove the purse, it will look significantly smaller and will be felted!
Just out of the washer.

Another photo, just after the purse was removed from the washer.
Dimensions after felting:  The body of the bag is 5 3/4 inches deep and 7 1/2 inches across; the flap is 3 7/8 inches long; the strap is 32 inches long and about 3/8 inch wide (has taken on a rounded shape); the button loop is 1 inch, top to bottom.

Completing the purse:  Manipulate the damp fiber of the bag to achieve the desired final shape and dimensions, and let it lay flat to dry completely.

Once dry, you can sew on your button, and add any desired embellishments (maybe a crocheted flower, or some embroidery?).

Easy peasy. Enjoy!