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Mostly Knitting Blog

Want to find the new stuff on Knitting-and.com, or read about my latest projects and discoveries? This is the place.

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

Tatted Suffolk Puff Rosette

No, I’m not trying to trick you! I couldn’t resist the shiny pretty sparkly photos on the online tatting class website so I bought some birch creative button forms when I went to Spotlight yesterday and I made one. Since I would never wear anything this outrageous I thought it would make a nice decoration for the top of the box when I wrap up the coverlet*.

Oh, and that thing that it’s sewn to? A suffolk puff. You can’t get away from them around here lately!

*Speaking of which, I had better get back to sewing it together.

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.

Hairpin Lace Fringe

I’m still sewing the suffolk puff/yoyo coverlet together, enjoying my Farscape marathon and taking breaks with a little hairpin lace experimentation πŸ™‚

After seeing pictures of hairpin lace fringe forks in The Young Ladies Journal (downloadable from Google.com) I thought I’d have a go and see if I could find the best way to make fringe and I think I came up with a nice technique. Here’s what a traditional fringe and fork would have looked like (from the Young Ladies Journal):

Fringe and hairpin forks

so I set my Clover loom up like this to imitate the traditional fork:

Clover hairpin lace tool set up for making fringe

Here are the fringes I came up with.

Hairpin lace fringes

Top: 1 double crochet (US single crochet) worked in the regular way (through the stitch) and then the short loops were chained together as a cable edge. I tied some loops in a knot, then snipped the ends and fluffed out the fringe for another look. I don’t like this fringe as I find the header to be all floppy and unattractive.

Middle: This is the technique I like for a plain fringe. I worked one double crochet per row again, but instead of working through the middle of the loop, I worked under both threads, trapping the whole loop within the stitch. You do have to put a thread through the small loops when you take it off the loom or they will threaten to undo. I threaded the small loops like a cable edge on this sample again. This made a nice tidy and firm header.

Bottom: The same as the middle sample but worked with two novelty yarns held together and a larger crochet hook. The purple yarn shrank when I soaked it overnight. I would have preferred if they had remained the same length. Now I guess I should try some fancier fringes like the ones in the Victorian needlework books! I will be documenting these techniques properly by adding a new section on hairpin lace to the website. Eventually…

I’ve also decided on a motif for my next tatting project!

It’s from the Priscilla Tatting Book #1 and I think I’ll make it in size 20, blue thread. I don’t have much blue size 20 thread left so I’m going to see what they have at the needlework store on Thursday. Now, back to sewing all those suffolk puffs together!