Chronicling the steps to creating a SUCCESSFUL life.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Crochet Diagrams: Breaking the Code

I have found it is sometimes easier for me to understand a pattern if it is presented in the dreaded crochet diagram.  I know you have seen them, those seemingly incomprehensible pictures of lines, arrows, dots, squiggles and what-have-you.

What are Crochet Diagrams?

According to Robin Brzozowski at Craftsy,  "Simply put, a diagram is a chart, a schematic if you will, of a pattern made up of symbols that represent stitches. All you need to break the code is the symbol key — that’s it! And, thankfully, you don’t have to risk life and limb to find it.
In fact, most diagrams (which are also referred to as charts, depending on the designer), include a legend or key to show you what stitches the symbols represent. Once you break the code, you have a tool that opens a whole world of pattern possibilities."

 Crochet Diagram Chart
Crochet Diagram:  Get your copy of the Chart HERE

This is still not much help, so here is a simple design showing how the chart looks and how the finished product should look:

Like everything else, there are rules to follow:
  1. Diagrams are worked from the bottom up and are designed for right-handed crocheters unless otherwise noted.
  2. A solid arrow points the beginning direction. After the starting chain, you work in a zigzag motion back and forth up the pattern.
  3. The right side row (RS) number is placed on the right side of the diagram and you work that line right to left.
  4. The wrong side row (WS) number is placed on the left side of the diagram and you work that line left to right.
  5. Stitches should appear in columns so you can see what stitch to work into as you go up the pattern.
  6. Pattern repeats are shown by either highlighting the stitches or with a bracket under the starting chain indicating the number of stitches. This is important when determining how long to make a starting chain. Don’t forget to add the number of turning (or raising) stitches to your total.
  7. If written instructions are included, this is shown at the beginning of the pattern as: Multiples of “x” plus “y”. (I thought I’d throw this in because it took me a long time to figure it out!)
  8. A bracket on the right side of the diagram indicates the number rows in the pattern repeat.
  9. A chain stitch that “hangs off” the end of the row is not counted. It simply raises the work to the next row.
  10. You do count a chain stitch that is directly over a stitch at the end of the row.
It is particularly easy to complete a doily with a diagram rather than with written instructions.  Whichever method you prefer, get out those hooks and get to work!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Flower Cross Body Purse

This purse is free-form crochet, which basically means anything goes of my own design.
This purse was hand-crocheted using Paton's Grace (tm) 100% cotton yarn in clay, natural, white, wine and sage, and a size F crochet hook.  The beads in the flower centers are Czech glass with silver lining.  It is 6" by 6" with a drop of 24" and a button closure.  

This chic little cross body bag is large enough to hold an iPhone 6SE, credit cards, keys and maybe your favorite lip gloss.  It pairs well with jeans and a pretty tshirt or take out for a night on the town.

It is fully lined with a a cotton Oriental fabric that has been hand-stitched into place.

Add this chic and sexy, designer quality bag to your collection and just wait for the compliments.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Work in Progress: Free Form Crochet Purse

I have been working on a free-form crochet purse that will be ready for sale very soon.  There are some pictures of the work in progress.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Crochet History

I found this article to be very interesting (from HERE).  Nice to know where this craft that I love came from. 

Crochet History

The birth date of crochet has been a controversial issue for years with the question, "When did crochet history begin? According to me, I define true "crochet" as working series of stitches using a hook to create a doily, motif, or garment. Many try to attribute the use of a hook to make a single stitch as being "crochet". I disagree. No one is quite sure when and where crochet got its start, probably sometime before 1880.

Tambour Gives Birth to Crochet
Research suggests that crochet probably developed most directly from Chinese needlework, a very ancient form of embroidery known in Turkey, India, Persia and North Africa, which reached Europe in the 1700s and was referred to as "tambouring," from the French "tambour" or drum.
In this technique, a background fabric is stretched taut on a frame. The working thread is held underneath the fabric. A needle with a hook is inserted downward and a loop of the working thread drawn up through the fabric. With the loop still on the hook, the hook is then inserted a little farther along and another loop of the working thread is drawn up and worked through the first loop to form a chain stitch. The tambour hooks were as thin as sewing needles, so the work must have been accomplished with very fine thread.
At the end of the 18th century, tambour evolved into what the French called "crochet in the air," when the background fabric was discarded and the stitch worked on its own.

Crochet in the 19th Century
Crochet began turning up in Europe in the early 1800s and was given a tremendous boost by Mlle. Riego de la Branchardiere, who was best known for her ability to take old-style needle and bobbin lace designs and turn them into crochet patterns that could easily be duplicated. She published many pattern books so that millions of women could begin to copy her designs. Mlle. Riego also claimed to have invented "lace-like" crochet, today called Irish crochet.
Lavish crochet emerged along with other elaborate needlework of the 1800’s. Proceeds from crochet items saved the Irish from starvation in the late 1800’s.

A Craft for the Rich
At one time crochet was considered for the wealthy only, for lavish decor in the home and dress. The poor folk were expected to stick with knitting basic needs such as socks and clothing and not dally around with experimental crochet. Angry words were published in magazines from the wealthy stating the lower class should stick to making necessities rather than fancy items that was not their place to wear or display. The poor to middle class lashed back as to their rights to use crochet as they pleased. Can you imagine today, someone telling us we should not use a particular craft because of our financial background? Much of this idea stemmed from fear the servants would be spending time crocheting when they should be working at the employer’s home. Because crochet samples can not be found among the many needlework methods taught in schools of the past, it is surmised crochet was left out because of the danger of experimentation and foolery.

Bead Crochet Debuts
In the 1800’s, bead crocheted bags, clothing and decor were a hit. Bead crochet bag popularity continued through the 1950’s. Fashion trends included bead and thread crochet through the 1970’s but not like the heydays of the 1800’s. The 1980’s through the 1990’s began a renaissance for bead and thread crochet.
Today we are entering new millennium with bead crochet becoming ever more popular and combined with many other bead and fiber techniques; using old techniques to create new art.
Knitting with beads was already in fashion when bead crocheted began to appear on the market in the 1830’s. Bead Knitted bag patterns for scenics and other elaborate patterns required planning exact bead stringing. Bead crochet bags could be made without extensive planning and included more freeform techniques. Bead knitted and crocheted items continued in popularity through the early 1900’s. The Roaring ‘20’s brought in a new flood of bead crocheted bags with piles of bead loops hanging all over to go along with flapper attire. Then in the 1980’s bead crochet along with bead knitting had a resurgence along with fiber knitting and crochet. In the early 1990’s bead knitted bags gained popularity which in turn brought excitement to bead crocheted bags.
Today vintage thread crochet samplers of the 1800’s are available for study in various museums. Piecework Magazine continues to be an excellent resource for needlework sampler history including bead and thread crochet.

Resources for Historical Information:
Material for this article came from excellent sources;
"A Living Mystery, the International Art & History of Crochet," Annie Louise Potter, 
A.J. Publishing International, 1990; and 
"Crochet History & Technique,"
Lis Paludan, Interweave Press, 1995.
September 1997, issue of The Chain Link Newsletter
Crochet Guild Of America 
website source: Janet's treasures
Dooner,Kate, A Century of Handbags, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd, Atglen, PA, 1993
Ettinger, Roseann, Handbags, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd, West Chester, PA, 1991
Haertig, Evelyn, More Beautiful Purse, Gallery Graphics Press, Carmel, CA, 1990
Haertig, Evelyn, Restoring and Collecting Antique Beaded Purses by, Gallery Graphics Press, Carmel, CA, 2000
Holiner, Richard, Antique Purses, A History, Identification and Value Guide, Second Edition, Collector Books, Paducah, KY, 1987
Potter, Annie Louise, A Living Mystery, The International Art & History of Crochet, 1990, A.J. Publishing International, USA, ISBN 1-879409-00-3
Paludan, Lis, Crochet, History & Technique, 1995, Interweave Press, Loveland, CO, ISBN 1-883010-09-8
Schwartz, Lynell K., Vintage Purses At Their Best, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd, Atglen, PA, 1995
website source:

Friday, December 9, 2016

Bring Yarn

It's finally WINTER in Virginia.

Bring Yarn, preferably by the baskets full.

Nothing make me feel cozier than a huge basket of yarn and a crochet project that is large enough to cover my lap while I am kept warm by a crocheted plaid scarf of my own design:

You can buy it HERE

Monday, December 5, 2016

Crochet Terms

I found this

  • "There’s a stitch directory in the front of the book. This directory features small thumbnail-sized photographs of each stitch. The result: you’re able to easily see many stitches and compare them against each other. You only have to thumb through several pages to see them all, rather than looking through the entire dictionary trying to pick which one you want. This feature is a real time-saver. It’s a selling point in favor of this book if you’re only going to buy one stitch dictionary and you’re trying to decide which one it should be.
  • Each stitch includes several color photographs, plus information about the stitch, and instructions for the crocheting the stitch – including symbol crochet charts and written text instructions.
  • The photography in this book is outstanding. Each photo is crisp, perfectly focused, and at just the right distance to be useful. The photographs are all large enough to be useful.
  • The styling in the book is also outstanding. The book includes some stitches where multiple colors are used together, and I found the color combinations to be interesting and inspiring. The beaded and sequined samples catch my eye every time I look at them, and they inspire me to get out my hooks and start crocheting something new.
  • Each stitch is crocheted perfectly, precisely and evenly. Since there’s no such thing as a machine with a capability to do these stitches, they must have been crocheted by human hands -- but if I didn’t know better, I’d swear these samples were made by a robot and not a human crocheter. Point being, when you use this book, you have excellent reference material to work from and emulate.
As you have probably already deduced, I’m enthusiastic about this book overall. I think it’s an outstanding publication. Since this is a book review, I’m obligated to look for any downsides that might be present, but I really didn’t find much about this book to criticize. There’s a bit of wasted space in the book here and there, but overall the layout is pleasing. There are some instances of the word “very” that should probably have been edited out of the book. There are a few places where, to my jaded eyes, it seemed as if the visuals tell you everything you need to know, and the writing is merely there to fill space. But, overall, my opinion is that this is a book worthy of a crocheter's (or aspiring crocheter's) time, attention and money.
Important Note: This is not a pattern book. It does not include complete start-to-finish instructions for finished projects you can crochet.
If your goal is to create finished projects – and of course, that probably is at least one of your goals, right? You can decide to use these stitches to create just about any finished projects of your choice. That includes all the popular sorts of projects such as scarves and afghans, or on the other hand, any obscure type of project as well.
However, the book will not tell you specifically how to transform these stitches into finished projects such as hats and slippers and scarves. So, you will have the freedom, the fun, and perhaps also the aggravation, of experimenting to determine those things for yourself.
This is not unique to this particular book; it is the same with every stitch dictionary I have ever owned.
If you are looking for complete project instructions, you’d be better off with a pattern book. I invite you to browse through our list of crochet pattern books to find many possibilities.