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A New Surface, A New Focus

Recently, we bought the first piece to our new dining room- the sideboard:

Next up is the table, which we will get stained to coordinate with the chairs and sideboard. (Link is to the unfinished furniture store's supplier, but the pertinent information is that it is 48" wide, and 72"/87"/102" long (two leaves))

That's all very fine and well, you might be thinking, but what does this have to do with crochet? What doesn't it have to do with crochet?! These are my new canvases. I now have the furniture that supports and revels in vintage thread patterns to grace them.

And I have found the pattern that will do it best. I had looked at the pattern for "Cathedral Window Tablecloth" at Celt's Vintage Crochet site, but it was seeing a finished product at Crochetville that really knocked my socks off. Way to go, habetlerm!

She made the tablecloth with sz 10 thread, and I was afraid that would be too large, but it looks great. I may still use sz 20, and perhaps even sz 30 for a runner for the sideboard.

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posted by Kate on Saturday, February 24, 2007 @ 12:36 AM

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Valentine for My Sweetie

Thread Crochet Valentine

My husband is really ridiculously supportive of my crocheting in general, but he doesn't have too much use for my recent fascination with doilies. I thought of a way to make him a believer, after being inspired by my aunt.

My uncle has a valentine card my aunt made him years ago that featured a lace heart outline threaded with ribbon attached to a red card. I thought this was a perfect idea for Keith!

I had some problems finding a similar pattern, but decided the heart shaped mini-doily from Patricia Kristofferson's 99 Little Doilies would work if done in size 30 thread - beautiful! Then I couldn't find premade red cards at the craft store, but I think my sheet of cardstock and vellum worked well together and looks better than the original notecard idea would have for this doily.

Attaching the doily was another challenge, but I was able to sew it on in a manner that didn't show from the front and the back was covered by the vellum.

I am very pleased by how well the card came out; when I'm making it for someone as special as Keith, it just has to be great. Because he's great. I love you, Keith!

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posted by Kate on Monday, February 19, 2007 @ 6:00 PM

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Little Hooks, pt 2

Elf Doily
After posting about trying out smaller threads, I made a crafting trip to Ben Franklin. What a pleasant trip! I just was looking for a change of pace from the same-old same-old at Michael's, but what I found just made my day.

So what is it you are looking at, above? Well, to jump to the end of my story first, that is the doily I crocheted last night. I used sz. 80 DMC thread and a sz. 14 hook, and used pattern #29 from Patricia Kristofferson's 99 Little Doilies. As you can see, I didn't take time to completely finish it by weaving in the end - I was too excited to share!

And while this is exciting (I thought the smallest hook I could find would be a 12), what I was really thrilled about was finding a Tatting Needle! I have been entranced with needle tatting since my Secret Pal, Lori introduced me to Handy Hands Tatting. I hadn't actually ordered from them, yet, as I am wary of online shipping costs. There was an entire little section of goods from Handy Hands Tatting there at Ben Franklin's! For the exact same cost! Now I can see if I will actually keep with it before committing to an order big enough to make me accept the shipping costs. I also found a book that combined instruction and patterns - for a reasonable $4.

Crocheting hooks and tatting needle Easy Tatting

So, as you can see, I will be busy for a while.

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posted by Kate on Sunday, February 11, 2007 @ 11:22 PM

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A Source for Patterns - Russian Sites

I have spent the afternoon surfing the web in fascination - on pages where I can't even make out the letters (my Cryllic is rusty :-) ). Why? Because of the beautiful patterns! I have been looking at a plethora of Russian sites, where there are some truly beautiful patterns available.

"If you can't read Russian," I hear you asking, "how will the patterns help you?"

Luckily for me - and other crocheters out there - schematics seem to be far, far more common than here stateside. The fine doilies show thread and hook size by a numerical size, and that "translates" just fine.

"How can I find these patterns?" you might now be thinking, "and is there anything beyond the pretty doilies?"

Well, I will say that it is the lacier patterns that have the schematics that I have found most easily - doilies, stoles, tops, baby booties, and handkerchief edgings. And you do have to have a level of comfort with schematics (and I recommend Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Crochet).

But how to find them? Here's what I did: I went to Altavista.com's translation service (Babelfish) and typed in "Crochet". It came back with:
вязание крючком

I copied and pasted into Google, and up came a laundry list of sites and descriptions I couldn't read. But next to each one was a link titled "Translate this Page". Now, it isn't magic. It isn't a great translation. But it's genereally enough to help me a little if I need it to find patterns.

And then I just clicked around and started going "oooooo, pretty!"

You could add terms for "pattern" (картина) or "schematic" (схема) or even try other language sites (I have seen some impressive Japanese lace out there, for example).

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posted by Kate on @ 3:51 PM

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A Star from My Aunt

You may remember my mentioning of my Aunt Whee, the crocheting sister of my mother. It is so fun to have a crocheter in the family! I did not learn to crochet from my Aunt Whee, but I do get inspired by all of the beautiful items she has created throughout the years - and I can see them when I go to the home of anyone in our family.

She gives me great ideas beyond just for projects - it was her suggestion to go to Lowe's for a piece of foam insulation to use for a blocking board.

Aunt Whee made Star of Bethlehem ornaments this year in sz. 30 thread, and stiffened with a fine glitter. The scan doesn't do it justice, but I wanted to share it with you all!

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posted by Kate on Friday, February 09, 2007 @ 4:42 PM

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Little Hooks

One year ago I had never crocheted a doily. The only thread crochet I had done was a set of about a dozen stars for my Christmas tree (my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I swapped ornaments from our trees that year, and to this day he has one crocheted star on "his tree" and I have a red bow on "my tree").

I jumped right in with doilies, and my first doily was somewhat of a behemoth. My second doily was also a larger one, but both worked up fairly quickly with "larger" steel hooks (sz. 7) and "larger" thread (sz. 10).

Since then I've made dozens of doilies, including a large collection of Patricia Kristofferson doilies (of course, to make it to "dozens", I'm counting the set I've made from her 99 Little Doilies).

I just finished a small doily from that book in sz. 30 thread and sz. 10 hook, to use on my husband's Valentine - I hope to have it blocked to share soon! - and have gone a bit more adventurous and am stitching Irene from Doilies with a Twist (PK, of course) in the same sz. 30 thread.

Now, sz. 30 thread and sz. 10 hooks are about as big as some stitchers I know like to go. I applaud them even more after working on this pattern.

One bit of inspiration for me is the collection of "Elf Doilies" Diane has posted on her website. Diane was one of my testers for my doily pattern (that I am eager to show), and her work is incredible. Most of the doilies on this page have a quarter or penny pictured next to them to give you an idea of gauge. Here is the link.

After finishing this doily, I would love to find a sz 12 or smaller hook, and try my hand at a simple doily pattern to make tiny. I just have to find some thread, too!

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posted by Kate on @ 12:13 PM

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Fleecy Little Lion

Fleecy Little Lion Fleecy Little Lion and Hat

So often I make "little" crocheted projects that I just don't get photographed or uploaded. I am making a more concerted effort to at least take the pictures (even if they don't all make it online!) of these different projects.

I like the way this turned out - it is a simple edged fleece blanket. I bought the blanket with the appliqué already on it, and when I was brainstorming a good project for an expectant mother at church, I thought of the cute little lion. The yarn is Caron Simply Soft, and the "pattern" is [a row of (sc, sp) around, then a row of sc around] twice, a row of (sc, ch5) around, and then about 8 dc in each space. The outcome reminds me of a lion's mane.

Then I used the rest of the yarn to make a little hat on my red Knifty Knitter, and then found some blue yarn to match the fleece and made a speckled pom pom for the top and a band woven just above the brim of the hat. As you can see, my daughter loved it - she wanted to keep it, and didn't want the lion covered up, even for the picture!

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posted by Kate on Tuesday, February 06, 2007 @ 3:45 PM

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