Victorian Romantic Pineapples Centerpiece

With Christmas far in the rearview mirror… Valentine’s Day, you’re up. šŸ™‚ Here’s a sweet centerpiece project that I completed last year. The Romantic Pineapples Doily is a lovely textured project by Jo Ann Maxwell. (And currently available for free!)

Victorian Romantic Pineapples

My thread of choice was Knit Picks Curio in Victorian. As with most shades of Curio, I found this thread to be darker in person than it appeared on screen. In the case of this project, that was a good thing. I will say that I’m ready for some new color options, pretty please.

Victorian Romantic Pineapples 5

The pattern includes large openings, so there’s no chance to hide uneven stitches withinĀ dense fabric.

Victorian Romantic Pineapples

Reviewing these photos now, I definitely could have spent more time on the blocking – or at least straightened it up a bit for the photo shoot!

Victorian Romantic Pineapples

Cluster stitches add texture to the piece. I especially like the onesĀ that outline the pineapples. Just be sure to count carefully. Not that I, er, discovered that by experience. Ahem.

Victorian Romantic Pineapples 2

The stitch patternĀ that makes up the hearts (and adds the “Romantic” element)Ā are simple yet clever. Again, I think a bit more blockingĀ is needed here to smooth out the top curves of the shape.

Victorian Romantic Pineapples

It’s a lovely pattern, and one that I’ve actually made twice so far. I’ll share pics of my second one in a later post!

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Snowflake Ornaments

I’ve started seeing Christmas projects popping up on Pinterest and other blogs (in fact, I’m months behind by craft store standards) so I thought it was time toĀ share a few ornaments that I made for the contest this year.

Crochet snowflake ornaments

The contest rules for this category specify that you have to enter a group of three. Last year, I made three identical angel ornaments in different colors. This year, I opted to use three different patterns (all by the same designer – Deborah Atkinson) and give them the same color scheme.

The first one (pictured below) is called the 3D Crystal Snowflake for Mom. I think this one is my favorite.

3D Crystal Snowflake Ornament

The second one is calledĀ Mother’s Day Snowflake.Ā I got points knocked off for less-than-stellar blocking during the contest judging, and looking back I agree with the judges’ critique.

Mother's Day Snowflake Ornament

The third snowflake ornament is the Water Lily Snowflake. I wasn’t sure how well this pattern would work in my color scheme, but I like it.

Water Lily Snowflake Ornament

After completing the ornaments, I soaked them in a mixture of water and craft glue. Then I blocked themĀ on my foam mats, with a layer of plastic wrap in between to keep the glue off of my boards. (Sorry for the horrible photo and lighting – it’s the only shot I got.)

Blocking Snowflake Ornaments

The thread is Aunt Lydia’s Classic Crochet Cotton, size 10 in natural, and Knit Picks Curio in Victorian. To hang them, I just use the simple wire ornament hooksĀ that are available (one billion to a pack) in the holiday decoration aisles. Overall, these got third place in their contest category.

Crochet Snowflake Ornaments

Danish Heart Garland

After seeing this Danish heart pin on Pinterest, I was reminded that I haven’t yet posted about my own Danish heart projects! I have made many of these adorable interwoven hearts from the free pattern on alipyper.com.

Danish Heart Garland

My most ambitious version of the project is a garland that I hang in the doorway for Valentine’s Day. Each heart is made from two ovals with slits, which get folded in half and interwoven. It’s much easier than it looks – my favorite kind of project! šŸ™‚

Danish Heart Garland

I made the garland out of two different thread sizes: Aunt Lydia’s (sparkly) Iced Bamboo, and Aunt Lydia’s Classic Crochet Cotton (size 10). I alternated the larger (Iced Bamboo) and smaller (Classic Crochet Cotton) hearts on a crocheted chain that’s made from leftover thread held together.

Crochet Heart Ornament

This past Christmas, I made a few of the hearts as gift toppers. I experimented with some different color combinations (above) to coordinate with wrapping paper, and also did some in the classic color combo.

Woven Crochet Heart Ornament

My garland got a first place award in its category at the contest last year. Love this pattern – give it a try!

Snowdrop Treetop Angel

This past weekend, I got it into my head that I wanted to make a tree topper angel. (Nothing like waiting until the last minute!) We have one on our tree that I purchased on Etsy before I got into thread crochet myself. It’s nice, but I thought it would be much more meaningful to have one of my own creations atop the tree.

I perused Ravelry and Google’s image search to find a pattern that I liked. I found plenty of lovely designs, but the ones that I really liked were published in now out-of-print books or otherwise not available. The only logical solution: create my first original design! Presenting the Snowdrop Angel:

Crochet Snowdrop Treetop Angel

To say that this is my first original design isn’t strictly true. I have done a few other projects that were essentially my own design – I just didn’t write the pattern. In an effort to create something that I could reproduce, though, I took the time to write down coherent steps. And it was HARD.

Crochet Snowdrop Treetop Angel

The process of writing down the pattern certainly slowed things down. When I designed this angel, I knew what elements I liked, but I actually closed all of the programs on my computer except Word so I wouldn’t be influenced by other projects. It was mostly trial and error. For many of the rows/rounds, I tried and frogged several different possibilities before getting one that gave me the correct look and shaping.

Crochet Snowdrop Treetop Angel

I even created an entire wing assembly design and decided that, although it was nice, it didn’t really match the style of the other components. So I tried again.

Crochet Snowdrop Treetop Angel

This angel is made with Rustica Eclat crochet thread, which you can purchase at Hobby Lobby (see link). It has iridescent strands that give the Snowdrop Angel the appropriate glistening effect.

Crochet Snowdrop Treetop Angel

I was worried that when I stiffened the angel (with a mixture of craft glue and water), the iridescent strands wouldn’t show through enough. But they do! I’m so glad. šŸ™‚ The finished angel is about 8.5″ tall – perfect for our smallish-sized tree.

Crochet Snowdrop Treetop Angel

I really, really, really want to make this pattern available, and I certainly intend to. I had thought I would publish it along with the finished photos, but it’s still rough and there’s a good chance there are errors. It’s important to me that people who want to try it be successful, so I’m going to wait until I have a chance to polish the pattern and test it myself. (After some time has passed so I’m not just remembering how I made it!) Plus… who is going to be making more Christmas decorations at this point?! (Besides me, of course.)

I hope you have a great Christmas! Much love for all of your encouragement on my projects throughout the past year. šŸ™‚

Gift Ideas for Knitters and Crocheters

Stumped about what gift to get the knit/crochet lover in your life? Not sure what to tell those who ask what you want for Christmas? I have a few ideas to get you started. Let me tell you, it was a real sacrifice to research this post. šŸ˜‰

“Splurge” Yarns. Knitters and crocheters never get tired of yarn shopping. Unfortunately, our bank accounts (and spouses?) do. That’s why getting a skein or two of a luxury yarn as a gift is so great. Pictured: Knit Collage Pixie Dust Mini in Granite Peak.

Knit Collage Pixie Dust Mini

 

Ottlite.Ā I don’t have one of these, but I have heard great things about the powerful, color-accurate light they produce. Bonus points for models (likeĀ this one) with magnifiers (thread crochet, anyone?) and supply-storage bases (Where is that cable needle? Oh, there it is.)

Ottlite Table Lamp

Project Bags.Ā Crafters have a lot of supplies, so we need a handy place to put it all when we’re on the go. Project bags are available in a variety of price ranges. I like theĀ delia Q Isabella bagĀ pictured below – with pockets that button closed!

Yarn.com Della Q Bag

Hook and Needle Cases. Did I mention that fiber crafters have a lot of supplies? That makes a good needle and/or hook case so indispensable. The hook and needle case I use (Thirty One’s Timeless Beauty Bag) isn’t actually meant for the purpose – it’s a beauty supply bag. But the elastic bands meant for brushes work great for holding knitting needles, and the clear interior pockets allow me to find the right crochet hook quickly. I also use theĀ Thirty One Organizing Utility ToteĀ as my project bag most of the time, which works great.

Thirty One Timeless Beauty Bag

Fun Knitting Needles and Crochet Hooks.Ā A pretty set of crochet hooks or knitting needles can make a project even more enjoyable. I like these gorgeous new Caspian knitting needles from Knit Picks.

Knit Picks Caspian Needle Set

Printed books. Knitters and crocheters can never have too many patterns, so pattern books are always a great idea. I’ve heard good things about Crochet at Home, for example.

Crochet at Home Book

Magazines. You can find a lot of great patterns in magazines, too. I still love getting magazines in the mail, and for people like me, getting a new issue of a crochet pattern magazine such as Interweave CrochetĀ is like Christmas every time.

Interweave Crochet Magazine

Pattern Downloads. Great patterns aren’t just in print – many are available as online downloads. Because so many knitters and crocheters use Ravelry patterns, you could consider gifting one of the paid patterns.

Ravelry Pattern

Stitch Markers.Ā I haven’t had too many opportunities to use stitch markers, but with adorable options available through Etsy artists, I might have to start. These cookie-shaped stitch markers are by OneElf.

OneElf Etsy Cookie Stitch Markers