Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cinderella in Combat Boots

When I was in elementary school I watched a "production" of Cinderella in Combat Boots. I believe that it must have been put on for our benefit by the high schoolers, who were frankly awe inspiring to a miniature, impressionable me. I recall thinking that there was nothing more fascinating than the juxtaposition of the feminine and masculine, nothing more beautiful and powerful than the way those boots looked on her in that dress. Perhaps, those thoughts were not so clearly formed, but I was indeed stirred. I blame that production on my proclivity later in life for combat boots. One pair in particular were worn until the nails had worked their way through the sole, and then worn some more. These days it becomes more and more difficult to find occasion for combat boots. So, I have laced up a pair for my new mannequin. And as she models my latest creations, I cannot help but admire how lovely she looks in those boots.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Orange Grown Up Baby Sweater

It turns out that I had not lost this sweater, but rather had stuffed it into a decorative box.  I suppose at some point that seemed like the best thing to do.  I wonder what I will find in all the other nooks and crannies of the apartment.
As mentioned previously this sweater followed the pattern for a toddler sweater.  A friend mentioned after I modeled it for her, that yes, it is evident that this was intended for someone without any particular shape to their body.  Perhaps I can find a giant toddler who would want to wear it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Jefe, what is a plethora?

I have a plethora of yarn.  I have been accumulating it for years now.  While moving has necessitated the disposal of some of the more unruly clumps of knotted skeins I still find that I have more yarn than one ought to have.  It is tucked into hidey holes all over the house.  I have a broad spectrum of yarn, too.  Dollar stores, discount shops, remnants, and inherited yarn leaves me with a random hodge podge of unrelated balls and floppy, loose skeins. 

I have determined that I will find purpose for all of this yarn, and so I have set out to work through my collection.  So, whether it is a simple hotpad, or a stuffed bunny rabbit complete with sweater and hat I will begin to chronicle my progress.
Hot pads are the simplest way to get rid of extra yarn.  The red was from a blanket commissioned for a young man.  The green was selected for a blanket that never got made.  The orange is from a sweater, which although it was designed for a baby- I made adult sized.  I'll upload a photo as soon as I relocate the sweater!

This hotpad and bracelet came from a small skein found on sale at Joanne Fabrics.  I think I was just taken with the texture of it, but had no plans for its use when it was purchased.

The handtowel (a staple at craft bazaars) is also a frequently requested gift item from my mother.  The yarn is old enough that I forgot its origins (most likely a dollar store).  I think I may have made a youth blanket with it.

Left over baby blanket yarn.  I bought too much, because it resulted in 2 baby blankets and a scarf.

This scarf was made with an inherited skein of yarn.  I used the afghan stitch, which I'm thrilled to say was taught to my by my 11 year old niece!

While at Target I saw fingerless mittens (with a mitten hood) and crocheted ear muff.  It was yet another, I could do this myself moment.  So I did.  I used dollar store yarn which had been purchased to make purses (one of which I actually sold to a security guard at my place of employment).  Alas one of the mittens is larger than the other, because I did not follow a pattern.

Yarn from the blanket that never was.  My grandmother sent me to her crochet binder, where she chronicled every pattern and project she had made.  She told me to retrieve the mitten pattern (this after I told her that my mittens were of two different sizes).  The hat is out of the Happy Hooker book and has ear flaps and buttons.  The scarf again utilizes the afghan stitch.

This rabbit is made from the unused yarn from a baby blanket and sock yarn.  His ears have pipecleaners in them to hold them up.  He has no legs.  I ran out of yarn.

Doily Freestyle

I had my grandmother's lazy susan in mind when I started this.  I did not follow a pattern.  I find doily patterns to be challenging.  I suppose I should address that issue one of these days.  In the meantime I will just enjoy freestyling.

Making a blanket, just because the I liked the color

I had no need for another blanket, and I cannot think of anyone who would want one, let alone someone who would tolerate the color.  All I know is that when I saw the yarn at the craft store I thought, this is too terribly beautiful to pass up.
The pattern comes from The Complete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs: 500 Classic & Original Patterns by Linda P. Schapper. It ended up being a perfect Springtime afghan. This blanket is currently available for sale on my Etsy site. Click here to check it out on Etsy

Grandma's Gift

After giving my grandmother a Victorian ring purse she went into her room and came back with this:
She explained that this small satchel's expressed purpose was to hold your crochet thread while you work on projects.  I gladly accepted this gift and examined it.  I have since produced two replicas.

Baby Blanket coincidence

I made this baby blanket primarily to use up yarn, which I had purchased for a previous baby blanket.  Shortly after I had finished it my mother called and informed me that the boy from my Sunday School class (yes, I briefly taught a Sunday School class) and his wife were having a baby.  Of course it's a pretty sure bet that someone somewhere in your life is having a baby- why only last year I had to crank out several baby blankets.  Which is to say nothing of my many friends who actually had to crank out babies. 

I, on the other hand, have a cat.

Commissioned Baby Blanket

This baby blanket was commissioned by my roommate's mother.  The pattern came from one of my all time favorite books, The Complete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs: 500 Classic & Original Patterns by Linda P. Schapper.  Sometimes I just sit with it musing over the many stitches, and possibilities.
If you are interested in this pattern I am happy to provide the pattern information below.
Chain multiples of 3 plus 1.
Row 1: Dc in 5th ch from hook, dc in next ch, working over last 2 dc made, dc in ch to the right of last 2 dc made, *skip next ch, dc in each of next 2 ch, working over last 2 dc made, dc in last skipped ch; rep from * across to within last ch, dc in last ch, turn
Row 2: Ch 3 (counts as dc), skip first dc in each dec across to turning ch, dc in 3rd ch of turning ch, turn.
Row 3: Ch 3 (counts as dc), skip first dc, * skip next dc, dc in each of next 2 dc, working over last 2 dc made, dc in last skipped dc; rep from  * across to turning ch, dc in 3rd ch of turning ch, turn.
Rep Rows 2-3 for pattern.
Below I've included the crochet symbols for the pattern. I tend to be more visual, and found the symbols to be especially helpful. I strongly encourage crocheters to invest in this book. It will keep you endlessly occupied!
I used a shell stitch for the border, but you can finish the blanket how ever you would prefer.

Victorian Ring Purse

My grandmother gave me a few of her small crochet magazines (two from the early Nineties and one from the Fifties).  In one of the magazines (one from the nineties) there was a pattern for a Victorian ring purse.  My mother, who was delivering the magazines reported that Grandma had one, which was white.  This fact was reiterated in the magazine as my grandmother had written "I had a white one".  So inspite of my limited pattern following abilities I set about to make a white Victorian finger purse for my grandmother.


My sister, and often my muse inspired the creation of the Gilgamesh hat and beard.  No pattern was followed, and I'm not quite sure how I could duplicate it, though I'm sure I will make the attempt.  Maybe next time I will try to record the pattern.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pray For Us

This will be my third staff show at the Gallery. I decided to crochet an Infant of Prague. First I plotted out the design on graph paper, then I took tiny hook and thread and crocheted and crocheted and crocheted. Once the crocheted infant was finished I attempted to stitch him to an orange velvet backing, which was so frustrating I almost gave up hope. My roommate suggested using a board, and encouraged me to not give up.

In the end I fabric glued the orange velvet onto a foam core board and then stitched the crocheted Infant to that. Tomorrow I will deliver it to the Gallery to be hung. I am not sure how I feel about this one, and have to admit that it is not quite as stunning as the previous 2 pieces, but I hope that the amount of labor that went into it is not lost on the few people who will wander past it.
A co-worker saw the Infant under my desk, and as she admired it I told her about the Polish tradition of positioning an Infant at the entrance to your home and placing a dollar under his skirt for good fortune. I had imagined ways to incorporate a dollar into the piece, but had given up. There were other things occupying my attention and I just wanted to be done with this project. She promptly pulled a dollar from her wallet and rolled it tightly. I slipped it through on of the squares and together we unrolled it until it lay flat under his skirt. It feels so much more complete now. I am pleased with the outcome.

The Infant has been living back in my home ever since the end of that staff show. For a couple of years he hung in my roommates bedroom. Recently upon acquiring a large movie poster of Robert Forster's "Hollywood Harry" the Infant has been moved. He now hangs facing the entrance, still with the dollar under his skirts in hopes that he will bring our household good fortune!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Venus of Willendorf

Most likely as a result of a conversation with my sister, I crocheted this small Venus of Willendorf doll. I did not have a pattern. I crocheted her from memory. The head and torso are one piece. The arms, legs and breasts are seperate pieces, stitched to the torso. This and at least 2 others (given as gifts) were small. A subsequent conversation with my sister resulted in a larger version of Venus. This followed the same pattern, but on a larger scale.

This doll was my first entry into a staff show at the Gallery. She sat unceremoniously atop a glass case. I am told she was highly regarded by fellow staff members, and for a month or so she was high art. More frequently she is an amusing pillow.

The next time I made a large doll I attempted one continuous stitch (rather than putting pieces together) The breasts are a challenge as they are more bouyant and of notably different sizes. She is also blue.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Knuckles like Rosey Grier

When I was young and I would crack my knuckles my father would say, "You're going to have knuckles like Rosey Grier." I had no idea who that was. It was explained to me that he was a football player, a very large one at that. My only other exposure to Rosey Grier was his song on Free to be You and Me, "It's alright to cry". I felt certain that, more than any 8 year old girl at the time, I truly appreciated Rosey Grier.

Imagine my delight when my father informed me that Rosey Grier did needlepoint. I have only recently begun to explore the medium. While I can get into a Flow with it, I have not yet reached that comfort level I enjoy with crocheting. I hope that I might find some inspiration in Rosey Grier's Needlepoint for Men from 1973.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

This is what happens when I am left alone for too long

I call her Creepy. She is a child sized doll made from childrens tights, dollar store yarn, and thrift store fabric and clothes. Each strand of her red chenille hair is hand threaded. The whole doll was handstitched (I did not own a sewing machine at the time). While she has spent a majority of her existence in a chair accompanied by her friend the Captain (another doll I crafted), she did have a brief stint in a staff show at world-class art gallery.

I also made that oddly shaped, handstitched blue cat (as seen above with Creepy, and to the left) with a fabric that both fills me with tickles and sadness. The fabric is of cats with the words "purrfect", "cuddle kitty", and "me and my cat" printed all over it. The cat, and a malformed squirrel now reside in a basket by the fireplace. I believe that my aversion to pattern results in some pretty wonky creations.

Pablo Picasso - His Amazing Life

It is 1:30 am. I am awake because I became obsessed with creating a small cross stitch pattern of a strange stuffed animal I purchased for a dollar at Target. In cross stitch the the animal measures about 1.5"x1.5".

I was trying to clean up a bit, and was putting shoes away in a my front closet when I rediscovered this stuffed animal, which I had purchased years ago to give to a friend. I decided that I would finally put a gift box together for her. It would include this stuffed animal, which at one point I deemed too adorably bizarre to give away. As I carried a small box, a pile of green yarn and the stuffed animal back to my room it occured to me. This little guy should be a cross stitch. So, I stacked my graph paper and a pencil onto of my pile and off I went.

After laying in a rough sketch I began to work with the squares. It is difficult to surrender detail, I am still learning the capabilities of the medium. I find it soothing to break images down into little cubes. I wonder if this is how Picasso felt when he was being rocked to sleep by fairies as a cartoon duck sang to him.