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Category: Sewing

Potterflies and Crochet Trees

I finally had time to fix the thread crochet butterfly that I stuffed up a couple of weeks ago!

Thread crochet butterfly

and followed by getting totally carried away making more butterflies πŸ™‚

The first one was meant to be a potholder but I wanted to make it as a decoration so I used slightly finer yarn than the pattern called for. Behold the potterfly!

Butterfly pot holder

and finally, since you just can’t escape the suffolk puff explosion around here, a suffolk pufferlfy of my own deranged devising.

Suffolk puff butterfly

I made the top of the wings with the extra large Clover quick yoyo maker and the bottom with the large yoyo maker. The body is a rolled up strip of felt bound with size 10 cotton and decorated with some french knots.

I’m still playing with hairpin lace techniques. I just found some more patterns in an antique magazine I was looking through last night. Did you know that hairpin lace is also known as hairpin crochet, fork work, krotchee crochet, fourche work, Portuguese lace, Maltese lace and Maltese work? If you’re looking through vintage or antique publications and see references to any of these techniques they may refer to hairpin crochet. Maltese lace and Portuguese lace also refer to bobbin lace and other crochet styles so it depends on the individual pattern. Some patterns just marked as crochet also contain hairpin lacework so it pays to keep your eyes peeled. I had no idea I had so many hairpin lace patterns and techniques in my little collection of antique books and magazines until I read through them all.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been doing. Since I won’t be adding the hairpin lace section to knitting-and.com until after my brother’s wedding (next Sunday), I’ll put some rudimentary instructions here in the blog for the time being.

First of all, I have come up with a pleasing and extremely simple design for a stole that I want to make for Sunday. (I hope the yarn arrives today!)

Hairpin lace swatch for a stole

Made with fingering weight yarn on a two and a quarter inch staple.

The strips of crochet are made with the double stitch, meaning you work 2 double crochet (US single crochet) into the front of each loop before turning the fork instead of just one. The hairpin braid is then joined together using the cable join as shown here on the Stitch Diva website, but joining two loops through two instead of single loops as shown in the tutorial.

I’m going to make my stole 6ft long (I’m 6ft tall in flat shoes), with white fingering weight yarn, and as wide as I can make it before I run out of time. I want it to be at least 12 inches wide, I hope to make it 24 inches wide though so I’ll need 12 – 25 strips. Wish me luck πŸ™‚

I also had a go at tree stitch, which is great fun to work and makes a really interesting centre to the braid.

Hairpin lace tree stitch in crochet

To work tree stitch, work a slip stitch into the front of the large loop on the fork, pass the crochet hook under the front thread of the large loop, yarn round hook and draw through (2 loops on hook), *yarn round hook, pass the hook under the front thread of the large loop, yarn round hook, draw loop through** (4 loops on hook), repeat from * to ** once more (6 loops on hook), yarn round hook and draw through all 6 loops on the hook. Turn the fork and repeat for the next stitch. It’s really important not to forget the slip stitch to start with.
One thing I did find with the Clover hairpin lace tool is that it feels incredibly awkward with any yarn finer than Aussie 8 ply (DK weight). I ended up switching to a Pony brand hairpin staple in size 4 to work with the fingering weight yarn in these samples and immediately found it a lot easier. Next time I get to the newsagent I’ll pick up a pack of large paperclips to see what I can do with those.

I suppose I should sew my skirt while I wait for my yarn to arrive, but first a cup of tea…

It’s Finished!

I’m going to try and take a better photo outside but for now, I HAVE FINISHED THE SUFFOLK PUFF/YOYO QUILT!

Yay me πŸ™‚

Double bed Suffolk puff quilt

Begun: Last week of April 2007
Finished: August 10th 2007

Fabrics: Mostly cotton oddments and offcuts from my projects, other people’s offcuts and unused fabrics from the op shop and oddments and discarded fashion samples from the Reverse Garbage Creative Reuse Co-Op in Marrickville.

Details: 1,600 suffolk puffs made with the 45mm Clover Quick YoYo Maker – 40 puffs wide x 40 puffs high

Made as a wedding present for my brother & his fiancΓ© for the 19th August 2007
Number of seasons of Farscape watched in order to retain sanity while sewing all the little puffs together: 2.5 (plus a season each of Torchwood, Dr Who, Battlestar Galactica and Stargate SG1)

Will I ever make such a large project in such a short time frame again? Hell no!

πŸ™‚

Suffolk Puff/Yoyo Coverlet Update & Hairpin Lace Patterns

The suffolk puff/yoyo quilt is almost done!

First I took the 100 squares that I had sewn together and laid them out on the bed to figure out how I wanted to arrange them. Then I stacked them from left to right (the leftmost square on the top) and tied them into numbered bundles, 1 bundle for each row and stitched all the squares into their individual rows.

Yesterday I started sewing the rows together into the finished coverlet and have done 4 rows so far.

Suffolk puff quilt in progress

As you can see this is a nice size for a cover on the recliner in my tiny studio X living room. Those paper tags you can see at the bottom are the number tags. I tied them onto the leftmost square of each row so I wouldn’t stitch the rows together upside down.Β πŸ™‚

I just have to stitch the other 6 rows of suffolk puff squares together and I’m finished! I hope to get another three or four rows done today and have it finished and hidden by Friday when my brother (the groom-to-be) comes to pick up my daughter for dancing lessons (she’s a bridesmaid & the best man thought dancing lessons would be fun).

Continuing my hairpin lace investigations, I hauled out my Weldon’s Practical Needlework reprints and have bookmarked all of the hairpin lace instructions and patterns. I’ll write out a list of what’s in there tomorrow. There’s some really great instruction in there which I’m going to eventually rewrite, photograph step by step and put on the website. I might add a little video too. There does tend to be quite a bit of assumed knowledge in antique needlework patterns and I think, since some people will pick up hairpin lace before they learn to crochet, that the step by step instructions would be beneficial.

Flickr.com is a Dangerous Place


Ponto Fofoca ou Ponto Origami?, originally uploaded by Carla Cordeiro Artes.

I had planned on playing with my singercraft tool last night but I was overwhelmed with curiosity about this technique and how it’s done. So me and my investigating feet* went on a little hunt.

The text with Carla’s photo is in Portuguese and I don’t speak Portuguese so I started (and ended) by looking in the bible of fabric squishing The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff. There it was, in the chapter on smocking. Apparently this is called north American (or Canadian) smocking and is the flower design.

I had a go, and since I’m English and I really love the vintage gingham I was using, I had a go at English smocking too.

I really love the top design in the English smocking sample that I did (the diamonds). It has both a pleasing geometry and a lovely stretch, plus the gingham makes an interesting effect of darker diamonds on a lighter background with stripes.

I’m definitely going to file these techniques away in subconscious as totally cool and hope they resurface in a project soon πŸ™‚

* 10 points to anyone who can tell me the source of this quotation!

Hi Honey, I’m Home!

Actually, I’m only temporarily online because of the aforementioned laptop-software-murder but I thought that while I’m here I should tell everyone who asked that yes, I am safe and sound! Sorry I can’t reply to you all privately but the computer work I get paid for had to come first (SORRY!)

We still don’t have a rental, and haven’t ended up in the town I would have liked, but I’m a firm believer in “stuff happens for a reason” so it’ll all be fine in the end, I’m sure. In fact, some of the reasons have already presented themselves and they’re well worth the sacrifice. Well, at least one of them (the other is also good, but is also available in Wollongong, which is where we wanted to live but haven’t ended up).

Did that make sense?
No, I didn’t think so.

In the meantime I’ve been making stuff (in the name of sanity preservation. Is it working? Probably not).

Wanna see?
Of course you do, or you wouldn’t be reading a knitting blog.Β πŸ˜›

The first couple of things you’ll have already seen if you checked out the new patterns I uploaded over the last couple of days.

Firstly a quick recap with the Dr Who Scarf:

Dr Who Scarf

In case you’re wondering, yes, all that garter stitch is enough to drive you barmy. And no, that is not my mannequin. My family are somewhat nuts, everyone seems to have mannequins all over the place (actually, the same mannequins seem to get passed around, although my Dad did just buy a new one…)

The other project you might have already checked out are some cushion covers that I made from old denim samples I bought from Reverse Garbage in Marrickville. (Fellow Aussies, you can google their website and order online! Very cool)

Denim Cusion Cover with Frayed Spots

Denim cushion cover with an embroidered flower

Denim cushion cover with pocket

Denim cushion cover with stripe

Not bad for $5, huh? I only consider myself an advanced beginner when it comes to sewing, but I’m particularly proud of these. My favourite is the one with the embroidered flower.
But that’s not all I’ve been up to! I’ve been learning teneriffe lace.

Teneriffe lace

This is the only thing I’ve made so far. It’s the beginner’s lace mat from “The Technique of Teneriffe Lace” by Alexandra Stilwell. It’s an excellent book if you want to learn Teneriffe lace and well worth seeking out. It also has a chapter on daisy looms that I want to explore. I bought my copy through http://www.abebooks.com from an Australian seller, and there still seem to be plenty of copies around at excellent prices.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and am definitely going to learn more.

Whilst cleaning out one of his rooms, my Dad brought out an old favourite that I made for him last century! I don’t think I ever showed this one online because I didn’t have a digital camera way back when I made it.

Thomas the Tank Engine

Thomas the Tank Engine

It’s Thomas the Tank Engine. The pattern is from the Robin yarn company in the UK. I don’t know if you can get it any more but if you have anyone in your family who appreciates knitted trains, then it’s well worth seeking out. You knit a few pieces, sew them together, knit a few more, sew them on, ad infinitum. I think there were over 60 pieces in Thomas. The pattern is extremely well written. I never forgot what a piece was for, and aside from stuffing the base a little too firmly I think it turned out really well.

Of course all I care about is that my Dad loved it so I don’t care that I overstuffed the base.
πŸ™‚

At the moment I’m making another “Badly Written Doily“, in the hopes of being able to put up the corrected pattern with charts as my next update in a month or so. I have MORE that enough yarn to finish this one, so I’ll get past round 172 this time! I also have a very large book of graph paper to chart it with so there’s no way I’ll run out of that either.
In fact, I think I bought enough yarn to make 2. I’m up to round 154 and haven’t used all of one ball of cotton yet and I bought 3!

Finally, a quick list of birthday goodness.

I had my 36th birthday while offline and received a gift certificate from Borders, which I spent immediately on some fibre and philosophy books which I’ll tell you more about later. Dad gave me an embroidery frame that he made for me. I also managed to score 2 glass display heads with $$ from my sister. I’ve been looking for some for YEARS, so when my Dad’s friend phoned up and said that a local camping supplies shop was closing down and selling the shop fittings, off we trecked and lo and behold, just what I needed! Somehow I also ended up buying some down feathers too. I wonder if I can add them to my spinning without inhaling half of them…

I’ll try and post again in a couple of weeks. Don’t have too much fun without me!

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