Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Crocheting gifts: Baby Cardigan and Pants

I just love working on baby things so when a colleague of mine became a gran to a preemie I wanted to make a personal gift and made the waves and pebbles blanket and this little set.
This was the first time I made clothes for a preemie and wasn't really sure how it'll turn out. For the cardigan I used this pattern by Lion Brand. I actually used it as a stepping stone and made it my way with several (small) changes. As for the pants - well I have mentioned several times that I am trying to make a baby pants pattern so this is my makeshift design. All in all, I like how everything came together well at the end and hope the little darling keeps getting stronger.  

Monday, March 28, 2016

African Flower Franzy - How to read crochet charts

Hello everyone and happy start of the week.
The African flowers greeting you today were made (believe it or not) about 3 years ago when I had it stuck in my head to make an African flower bag and went on a flower crocheting  frenzy. And after I had made them, I didn't like the idea any more so they've been staying locked up in a box.
Now I have another idea how to use them and if it turns out doable I'll share here. But now, let's make some flowers.
Ch 5 and join to make a ring.
Work round 1 in the ring: with color A ch3 (counts as the 1st dc), make another dc, ch 1, dc2. Repeat this pattern 4 more times, ch 1 and sl st into the beginning chain.
Round 2: insert color B into the first ch (of rnd 1)and in that ch space, ch 3, dc1, ch 1, dc2. Repeat this pattern (dc2,ch1, dc2) in all the chain spaces of the previous round (6 small petals will be made). When you come to the end, sl st in the beginning ch. Sl st again to bring yarn into the first ch space of rnd 2.

Round 3: In that ch space, ch 3 dc 6. Repeat this pattern (dc7) in all the chain spaces of the previous round. When you come to the end, sl st in the beginning ch.
Round 4: Insert color C in first chain of previous row, and sc 7, dc 1 in between petals. Repeat. Sl st to end. 


There are many other variations of this beautiful flowers for you to try here

Friday, March 25, 2016

Pysanki - Easter Eggs as Masterpieces

A pysanka is a traditional Ukrainian Easter Egg decorated with folk motifs and designs using a wax resist - batik method.
It is said that pysanky date back from pre-Christian era, and sadly there are not much intact ancient evidence for this because the eggshell is fragile, yet archeologists unearthed fragments of eggshells with wax-resist decoration to support that hypothesis.
Every family in Ukraine had its own special ritual, its own symbols, meanings and secret formulas for dyeing eggs. These customs were preserved faithfully and passed down from mother to daughter through generations. The custom of decorating pysanky was performed with the greatest care, and a pysanka, after receiving the Easter blessing, was held to have great powers as a talisman.

The dyes were prepared from dried plants, roots, bark, berries and insects and the egg was "written on" with a stylus.

Heated beeswax was applied to the egg with a writing motion and the dye sequence was always from light to dark.

Pysanki are heavy with symbolism. Starting from old superstitions and beliefs that it could ward off evil spirits, catastrophe, fire and bring good luck, harvest, health and prosperity.

There is an interesting reading on history and symbols of pysanki here and  meaning of pysanki colors here.



Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Natural Easter Ideas!

Continuing our Easter traditions on the blog here, I compiled some fabulous ideas regarding Easter egg dying, sweets and décor.
With the internet being flooded with tons of fabulous ideas, it was really hard to choose just a few - but these were chosen with my current mood being the main drive for action and this time I concentrated on a (more) natural way of dying eggs and decorating the place. Enjoy the selection! 

Easter eggs




Easter décor





Saturday, March 19, 2016

Easter Gift Baskets - A crochet pattern

I love Easter. I have so many fond memories of celebrating Easter in my home as a child.  The preparations and the anticipation of Maundy Thursday was as exciting as Easter day itself for on that day my grandma dyed the eggs at the break of dawn. We always got to bed excited, unable to get to sleep, wondering what gorgeousness of dyed eggs we were to witness the next morning. For in my country it is a tradition the first eggs to be dyed at dawn when it is said they collect the power from heavens above and bring good health and prosperity. The first three eggs should be red - denoting blood - giver of life. The dyed eggs are left in a basket to be touched by the first rays of the sun.
I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically hold on to tradition and try to make Easter as exciting for my children as it was for me.
And it has become a tradition for me to make egg baskets out of crochet yarn. This year was no exception. I made simple, gift baskets for a memorable Easter time.
The pattern is on etsy, ravelry, Little Treasures.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Make Jewelry: Tribal Necklace


Let's crochet a vibrant necklace today shall we?
To make the necklace you need three colors in sport yarn, 1.9 mm hook (hook #5 US), wooden beads (four 14 mm round magenta beads, four 8 mm round pink beads, three 6mm round magenta beads, six 1mm cylindrical magenta beads, four 3mm pink cubes.
There is an absolutely fantastic site I found where you can measure your beads. It's called the BeadsGalore.
You also need these crochet pieces.
Sharpen your hooks!
With color 1, chain 5 and join to make a ring.
Round 1: sc2 in each st in the round (10)
Round 2: sc1 around (10)
Round 3: Insert color 2 in back loop of the stitch and sc2 in each stitch in the back loop only (20)

Round 3: ch 3, sk a st., hdc in next. Repeat pattern in bold 3 times then ch 3, sk a st and sl st in the next st. Cut yarn, tie a knot and weave tail. This pattern is for the two small pieces.

For the central, big one, repeat the same pattern  as above and continue with
Round 4: sc1 in all stitches around.  
Round 5: Insert color 2 in back loop of the stitch and sc2 in each stitch in the back loop only (40).
Round 6: ch 3, sk1, dc1 in next st. Repeat pattern in bold 4 times then ch 3, sk a st and sl st in the next st. Cut yarn, tie a knot and weave tail.
The central piece is made. Next, take a strand of yarn, double it and insert the middle through the center of the crocheted piece, slip the other end through it and tighten it.

Add beads as shown in picture 14. Tie a knot to secure the strand. Skip a chain space both from left and right and string some beads at the sides (picture 15).
Cut a very long line (mine was about 1.5 m). At the upper left corner, insert yarn and chain 13 (pics 16/17).  

Pull yarn so that you can bead the cubes and cylinders and on the other end, make a loop and start chaining again. Chain as long as you want your necklace to be.

Over the cubes and cylinders sew the small crochet pieces and bead the other set of beads (pic 23). Do the same for the other side.
Now for one of the sides make a loop and on the other sew a bead or a button and you are done.


Have fun!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Roses in Bloom - Cuff Bracelet Pattern


I am so happy to show you my newest cuff bracelet. I called it Roses in Bloom and I believe I managed to capture the magic of the spring blooms with this one.

More information about it on etsy, ravelry and Little Treasures.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Embroidered Pendant DIY


Welcome to a new addition of the making jewelry posts and this time - just as I announced last week, we are going to make an embroidered pendant necklace.

For this project you need a cotton piece, felt patch, and embroidery floss and needle.

Take a jar lid / tin can lid and draw until you get just a little above the center / middle of it. Draw a straight line to mark the upper edge.

Draw along the outer edges leaving 0.2" / 5mm allowance  for the filled edge.  

Sketch the floral scene and then transfer it onto the cotton piece.

Put it into the loop and choose desired colors.

For my flowers I used DMC / Ljubica (Unitas) floss:
1. DMC Yellow 972
2. DMC Beige 739
3. DMC Red 816
4. DMC Green 3346
5. DMC Navy 311
6. DMC Greyish / Bluish (no number) - sorry!
7. DMC Coral Pink 758
8. Ljubica Pink 526
9. Ljubica Orange 450
It doesn't really matter where you start - I always start working from left to right, so I started with the yellow daisy first.
For this pendant I used three basic stitches: the satin stitch, lazy daisy and French knots.
Janet has a magnificent blog called Stitch School which I often use as reference for stitches and you can learn how to make the satin stich here.

Next, I used the same color to make some French knots.


For the red rose I also used the satin stitch but I did it horizontally this time (notice the difference between the yellow satin stitch and the red one).


Added the orange one (and the leaves - coming up).

For the navy and the grey flowers I used the lazy daisy stitch.

Worked the flowers on the right side (all made in satin stitch) and I left the coral pink one unfinished because I want it over the edge for effect.

Now this is optional. You can work the edges and afterwards cut the fabric as close as you can to the embroidery work, but I don't like that method because some of the threads are going to peek and it is a really messy job. So this I what I did.

I took the piece off the loop and cut it out - leaving about the same allowance as I did for the edge.

Next I cut out a felt piece for the back - the same size as the pendant without the second allowance. And this is another no-no for me. Since I never glue anything onto fabric especially not on embroidered pieces (not that I haven't tried - it turned out awkward and grose), when filling in the edges the felt back gets filled too. You'll see what I mean - just scroll below.
Cut the fabric closely to the edge so that it gets worked better.



Pin the felt patch onto the cotton fabric. Here I finished the last flower. I folded the cotton, slipped it under the felt and satin stitched the center of the flower and the pink petals.

Next, the edge filling.


And that is it. Add jump rings at the sides to which you attach a metal chain and your new embroidered pendant necklace is ready to go :)

Some of my other stitched pendant necklaces here and a here.