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A Fantastic New Craft – My Freeform Crocheted Carpet Project

Freeform Carpet

It all started when I was sorting my wool the other day. I love how a bunch of wool can create a whole chain of thought and inspiration!

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I’ve got tons of textured yarns which I’ve accumulated over the years and lots of basic acrylics that I use for blankets and toys. I had the idea to create an area rug for my son with various textured yarns held double with a strand of the base acrylics (worsted weight) in all the shades of beige that I had in my stash. The flat/untufted areas are base acrylic held with a strand of cone cotton and strand of cone rayon with a golden sparkle to it – each about fingering weight or less. It compliments the sparkle in the main ‘bling bling’ yarn I’ve used for texture. It’s the multicolour found in all the circles – pictures just don’t do it justice.

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I had so much fun with this I’m planning to invest in some rug yarns to try to make a more durable/long lasting rug. This one is tightly crocheted and seems strong but it is just blanket strength acrylic I’ve used so I can’t wait to see what I can create with real rug wool and my tufted texture yarns! It will take away the machine wash option though if I decide to go with wool rug yarn (and I’m leaning to that option – seeing a guy with a factory full of partial cones which he needs to clear out later on today and there are a few different materials to choose from).

We all knew I needed a new hobby, seeing as I have nothing to do lol 🙂

Oh wow, almost forgot to post this pic…

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It’s my new Polonaise! Yes, finally, I have been blessed with the one wheel I’ve wanted forever-since-I-thought-of-spinning!! A totally excellent early Christmas present 🙂

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She spins like a dream and is just beautiful. The lady I purchased her from was excellent and her husband was even kind enough to deliver the wheel.

And a very cute grandson pic…he loves to jump!

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An Adorable Knitted Doll And A Few New Books…

I recently purchased a few new books. I really LOVE books!

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The one that got me started was ‘Knitted Dolls’ by Arne & Carlos. Then I found ‘Babes In The Wool’ by Fiona McDonald and also ‘Crochet Master Class’ by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss.

So, my sudden fascination with knitting some dolls is completely unexplainable but they are SO CUTE! One just leads you to wondering how the next one will turn out, lol.

In progress…

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The eyes make all the difference…

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Also, because the crochet book demanded I not ignore it….I started a couple of ‘squares’ for a future crocheted quilt I have in mind. The colours are awesome and the technique makes them really POP. This is a pillow cover project from the book….

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Have an excellent day! I have a doll dress to finish 🙂

Final thought for today? I KNEW the acrylic was good for something!

Hand Carved Crochet Hooks!

An awesome, fun, new craft!

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There is a pear tree in our back yard which has a dead, dry branch — so dry it literally snapped off the tree with a touch a few weeks ago. Add to that that I saw a tutorial on hook carving AND I love to carve in the first place….. 🙂

A little research revealed that pear is an ideal carving wood. Thank you, God.

And so I’ve learned to carve crochet hooks – what a fabulous way to spend a day off!

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The finished hook in this picture is 4mm and about 5.5 inches long. It fits perfectly in the hand with the bend in the wood. The stick on the right was the second one I worked on. More picture of that one coming right up!

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A raw stick, or how it starts – The second hook, which ended up being 5.5mm and about 6.5 inches in length with a really comfy thumb rest – The first hook and my favorite knife and blade.

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I wanted to show the ‘hook’ itself, that is definitely the tricky part. I sanded these very gently to get them to a shiny smooth finish, especially on hook end. I love how the wood grain comes out in this wood and really love it best in hook #2.

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Have a fabulous day!

Yes, I Have Been Slacking

I haven’t blogged in SOME TIME….wow, too long, really.

My beautiful daughter had her beautiful baby!! He’s the most beautiful boy in the world…of course, I am a little bit biased…just a little 🙂 She says I must ‘blog’ him, so here is a picture of cuteness itself….

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So, perfect, right? I’m one proud grandma, though that’s something to get used to — I’m so NOT used to being a grandma!

Certainly the excitement of new babies explains my blogging-slacking behaviour, doesn’t it?

I’ve done some spinning, some knitting and some beautiful fleece purchasing – all since I’ve been on the blog last and some of which I’d like to share here since I’m really thrilled with some of the results 🙂 I’ve been on a bit of a yarn/fleece diet this year, and trying to use up the fleeces and fibre I already have rather than buying more. IF you could see the yarn closet you’d definitely agree that the diet is necessary. It’s that or we have to expand the yarn closet, lol, or trade it perhaps with the children – their room would really make a good storage! 😉

I spun some navy and royal blue superwash merino fibre which I had bought last year at the Black Lamb (www.theblacklamb.ca), from Laurie, who is wonderful. I plied it (two plies – I’m a lazy spinner with two bobbins) and knit it up into the Gooseberry Cardigan pattern. I’m more than happy with this sweater – it’s comfy, it’s soft, it’s quite possibly my new favorite all time sweater!

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Not the best picture and I can’t believe it BUT, it seems I forgot (?) to take pictures of the spun wool or the spinning itself. I must be losing my grandmother mind!

Bonus! Found a picture of the spun yarn…
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I made a little crocheted top – the Avalon Top by Doris Chan. Love how it turned out too….

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I also made a little pair of socks, from my handspun superwash merino sock yarn…three ply this time….

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I prefer ankle socks so when I made up this design, they seemed the way to go!

Seems like forever and like I’ve got too much to say for one day. Instead of jumbling it all together we’ll have to finish this up tomorrow – when I’ll show the new alpaca fleeces I just washed and the beautiful shetlands I’m processing!!!

Have a great day! 🙂

Update Time!

I finished the handspun sweater I’ve been working on…

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It’s the 97-18 Tailored Cardigan by Drops Design – a free pattern which I modified only slightly in my version. I worked without seams and used a three needle bind off for the shoulders. Also, I used small size but medium length throughout. I think in the body I could have gone a little longer still.

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I ended up with a little more yarn than I needed, even!

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The grandbaby isn’t here yet but should be here any day now. I’m so excited! I’ve made a little blanket – probably the last in the ‘baby collection’ for now.

It uses the ‘curve of pursuit’ idea though not the pattern (since I don’t have it). I like it very much….

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I am now working in spinning some beautiful GREENS – again, superwash merino from The Black Lamb in Port Hope.

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I was mixing up the colours in a certain-yet-random-way and NOW I’ve run out of some of them. So, I’m working on making a coordinating yarn to go with the 770 metres, or so, of the first yarn. There is a tunic I want to crochet. Badly.

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We’ll have to see how it goes….

Turning It Into A Wallhanging!

Good morning 🙂

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I managed to back my latest crochet portrait on the weekend, and thought I’d share how I did it.

I wanted to build a back with a ‘bare’ frame around the outside, which wouldn’t show but which would cause the picture to hang flat, square (in terms of 90 degree angles – it is a rectangular picture) and stretched. I also wanted it to allow for cleaning and storage. I think I’ve accomplished all of what I wanted!

Materials used : unbleached muslin (for backing) – prewash in HOT and machine dry, to preshrink the fabric – pressed
measuring tape
lengths of dowel – 1/2″ diameter is what I used for the side(s) and bottom dowels
– something a little heavier and longer than the picture for the top dowel – mine was 7/8″ approx.
sewing machine and thread
tissue paper
sewing pins (quilting pins work well since they are longer)
iron/ironing board to press backing fabric nice and flat before cutting.

Ok, now – how to do it!

I measured my picture – it is 22 x 25″ (approximately – I round up if it’s in between inches because there is room in this picture for a little stretch and I want it to be pulled tightly.

I then cut a piece of muslin, leaving 1″ seam allowances all the way around. In my case I cut 24″ x 27″. Press the seam allowance down towards the ‘back’ of the backing, all the way around. I then folded out the corners, trimmed them and folded them back in as mitred corners.

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I then (because I’m a little bit overly careful) pinned it to the portrait, just to see how it would work. This is just a ‘check’ and will be immediately unpinned to begin constructing the frame.

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You can see that the backing appears bigger than the picture. That’s the ’round up’ factor and will be fine in the end. To pin, have someone help you if possible and, while holding the two edges, ease the fit by stretching the portrait evenly as you pin — begin pinning on the corners, then the centre (of whichever edge you are working) and then between pins. This will spread the ‘extra’ out evenly to prevent distortion or lack of squareness.

Now, unpin your backing from the portrait and set the portrait aside. Cut 4 strips (for dowel holders to create our frame) from the muslin about 4″ wide (less if you’re comfortable) and about the same length as the top, bottom, and the sides. Depending on your dimensions these may or may not be the same length.

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I began with the sides. Turn under a narrow hem and use your machine to sew this down (it will be a problem in time if it’s just pressed down) on one end of each piece of muslin for the side dowels. Be sure, for each side, that when the piece is folded (with the turned down seam at the top) that the fold is toward the outside of the backing, and the raw edges are toward the inside of the backing. The bottom end of each of these will be a closed end (at the bottom edge of the side dowels – to prevent the dowel simply falling out!) You should press under a bit at the bottom (approx 1/2″) and this fold will be to the inside of the dowel sleeve and also stitched down to create the closed end of the sleeve (later).

Wow, I hope that made some sense!

Next, I place, fold and pin the sleeves at the side, ONE AT A TIME, with the dowels inside them (for a close fit) and sew them using the zipper foot on my machine. This worked great for the 1/2″ dowel but not with the larger dowel (unfortunately). I checked the amount of space needed on top (for the larger dowel to fit behind the backing) and bottom, marked these with pencil and measured to mark them identically on the other side. You can see the larger space left on top compared to the bottom in the following pictures. Near the bottom of the backing, at the bottom edges of the side sleeves, you will need to pull the dowel out at least a little (or all the way if you like) to sew across the bottom of the sleeve to create the ‘stop’.

A picture of the top of the side sleeve;
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The bottom (with the dowel removed) of the side sleeve;
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Once done the sleeve, pull out the dowel and trim the underneath piece of the raw edge to 1/2 the width of the top piece. Use the top raw edge to fold around the bottom piece and press and sew in place. Make sure, as more sleeves are added, that you don’t catch a sleeve in this seam treatment. Treat all of the sleeve raw edges like this – it is strong and neat/tidy looking.

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After completing the side sleeves, create the bottom sleeve in a similar way but WITHOUT any ‘stop’ or closed section. If you sew it with the zipper foot, snug against the dowel, you shouldn’t have any trouble with it coming out unless you want it removed to wash or store the portrait. Don’t forget to do your seam treatment to eliminate raw edges.

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Now the top dowel sleeve – This is created the same way but with a wider dowel. You may wish to prepare the sleeve (narrow hem on each end) and then pin it tightly as we did before and then use a pencil to mark that crease/seamline – pull out the dowel and then sew along the line with a basting stitch (longer machine stitch), check the fit and then secure with shorter stitching once you have it right. I did not do this and ended up going a little tight in spots and having to rip parts of my seam out and redo it.

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Cut your dowels, if you haven’t done so already – a tiny bit bigger than their sleeves (the three smaller ones) and the larger should be long enough to extend and work as a hanger with the correct hardware or hooks of some sort.

To attach the portrait to the frame, remove all dowels and set aside. Pin the portrait to the back, stretching and pinning evenly as described above. I sewed it with my machine, regular foot – using tissue paper between the portrait and the feed, to prevent it beign sucked into the machine and RUINED. (My machine and I have trust issues) I sewed it with about a 1/4 – 1/2″ seam, making sure the crochet extends a TAD bit more than the backing and going slowly to prevent catching any of the sleeves!!

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Insert your dowels – sides, bottom then finally top – and VOILA

It’s a wallhanging!

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With the added advantage of being easily taken apart for washing or storage!!

Freeform FUN

Happy Friday!

I have something new to show today 🙂 Or at least the beginnings of something new…

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I was inspired by a picture of the stained glass window blanket (for which I don’t have the pattern) and thought the technique looked fairly straightforward.

I am just working this freeform for now and waiting to see what it wants to be when it grows up!