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I remember as a kid I would kind of dread August. First it meant that I only had one month of summer vacation left before school started (in Chicago school starts the day after Labor day). But second, August usually had the worst weeks of summer heat, and without any AC it generally meant I spent a whole lot of time in the basement, or when I could, at the local public swimming pool.

Now that I’m into crochet, however, “dog days” has an entirely different meaning. So in honor of National Dog Day being on 8/26, I will devote this blog entry to our four-pawed, tail-wagging, tongue-drooling best friends, and to all the wonderful crochet they inspire us to create!

Schnauzer

I couldn’t resist! This Schnauzer puppy reminds me so much of my own Mickey! Inspiration only by Lemowan – https://www.instagram.com/p/BCptrRojjqM/

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Adorable hats for kids (or the young at heart!) Free pattern at http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2014/01/crochet-dalmatian-dog-pattern.html

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Cute dog bowl mat by Bauta Witch, free pattern with translating on page – https://bautawitch.se/2015/12/14/diy-virkad-matskalsmatta-till-din-hund/

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Remember the Slinky Dog? Here’s the crocheted version, but will need translating – http://stranamasterov.ru/node/105178

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Exquisite hound dog, inspiration only by amiguru_mi —https://www.instagram.com/p/9_comrlFrQ/

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Wonderful dog toy bones, free pattern by Lime Green Lady – https://limegreenlady.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/23/

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Pretty in pink Pomp-a-Poodle by Red Heart – free pattern at http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/pomp-poodle

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These dog-face cup cozies are just fantastic! Created by HookedbyAngel, you can buy the patterns on Ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/designers/hookedbyangel  or her shop – https://www.etsy.com/shop/HookedbyAngel?ref=l2-shopheader-name&section_id=16355592

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And now, from the “Waaay Back” machine, it’s none other than Mr. Peabody from “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” (there is a new cartoon version out!) Free pattern available from K. Godinez at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mr-peabody

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Ah, yes – the iconic dog sweater! Above is actually an adorable hoodie from Jenna Wingate at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/dog-hoodie

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Of course we can’t forget one of the most famous dogs! Snoopy with his friend Woodstock – https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=424990.msg5057883#msg5057883    I couldn’t find the photo’s pattern, but this very close version is for sale by Amanda L. Girão: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/snoopy-inspired-dog-amigurumi

As always, all photos have been procured from Pinterest, and I try my best to link to the original designer. I will be glad to post any corrections in future posts.

When I lived in Illinois, I had managed to develop a bit of a green thumb. Since moving to California (7 years ago now), that thumb has turned cold and dead – even with plants that I should be able to keep alive. At least I think I should be able to!

I love violas. I have bought several violas over the past few years, with no success. I thought I’d try again this year, just because the plants at the store were soooo pretty and healthy and thriving. Please see pic below.

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I made the silly mistake of planting my beauty in an unlined terracotta pot. I believe the problem with that was the plant would dry out, I’d water it, the clay would absorb the water, I’d water it more, then the plant would be over-watered and the leaves would turn yellow and die. If I didn’t water the plant so much, the soil would dry out and the leaves would turn yellow and die.

Then I transplanted it to a plastic pot. The plant, though much smaller now, seemed all right. Then I gave it a little fertilizer. I don’t think it liked it. It started to wilt, continuing till it completely died. RIP, my poor little viola.

I felt very sad about the lonely pot, so I gave it a new friend. These gorgeous pom-pom marigolds are only supposed to be annuals, but I’m hoping that with a little TLC I might be able to nurture them through a CA winter. Hope springs eternal, right?

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As for actual crochet news, I’m still working on the wedding afghan, but it is getting close to being done. Here’s a little sneak peek –

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This is a photo of the side diamond panel with the cable/rope edging. I think the ombre effect turned out well; I’m pretty sure this one’s going to turn out great – keeping my fingers crossed!

I’m still in the process of making the afghan for my nephew and his soon-to-be new wife – I think I’m safe to say that because I don’t believe either one of them follow this blog! – and so I thought that doing a piece on dream catchers would be very appropriate for mid-summer’s reveries.

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Black Magic Boho Dreamcatcher by CleanS18 at https://www.etsy.com/shop/CleanSl8?ref=l2-shopheader-name

DC feathers

Many dreamcatchers have feathers – why not make your own? https://poppyandbliss.com/2017/05/19/tunisianfeathers

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Monochromatic design by Marion van Kooten-Stok at http:// https://www.facebook.com/handmadebymarian

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Not a dreamcatcher, but wouldn’t it make a fantastic one? Starflower Mandala from Zelna Olivier, free pattern at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/starflower-mandala

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Dreamcatcher on steroids! By AGAAZRA at https://www.etsy.com/shop/AGAAZRA?ref=l2-shopheader-name

Granny Stitch DC

Even the iconic Granny Stitch gets to show off! Rainbow Granny Spiral Sun Catcher by Jaime Ramsey at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/rainbow-granny-spiral-sun-catcher

 

Pleasant dreams everyone!

Some of us have been blessed to inherit vintage doilies. Some of us still adore the delicate patterns so lovingly hand crocheted. Some of us just love all things lace! No matter what category you fall in, most of us succumb to the allure of these dainty pieces at one point or another in our lives.

But what to do with them? Our grandmothers used them as decorative protection on the backs and arms of chairs and as underlayments to centerpieces, but this is so out-of-date today. Never fear – the creative powers on Pinterest have come to the rescue!

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Displaying them in frames seems totally appropriate for their beauty

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Group doilies to make an eclectic table runner

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What an elegant place to store the remote!

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Lovely way to brighten a room

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Sooo cool – I want one!

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A diminutive sachet or pincushion, from https://www.livemaster.ru/topic/470805-kruzhevo

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Decorate a plain tablecloth – from http://ana-rosa.tumblr.com/post/31532747462

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Doilies make a stunning window screen framed in embroidery hoops; from Dishfunctional Designs

While wandering Pinterest, I also spied many other examples for doily use – mobiles, stiffened for bowls, gift bags, jar or tea light covers, decoration for scrapbook covers/pages, to create a banner, decorate a tote bag or throw pillows, use as a stencil, to press into clay for plates/bowls/ornaments, crochet together to make a curtain/lightweight throw, or as an insert for a room divider. And please don’t forget – doilies are usually made from cotton, which is a very dyeable material; you certainly don’t have to limit your creativity to the traditional whites and ivories. Vive le doily!

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Finished Crescent Shawl – Ta Da!

Yes, it took me a while to screw up my courage and attempt to work out the problems with this “simple” scarf/shawl. If you remember, I was lamenting a bit ago about the neckline of this project (The “Simple” Scarf) and how I wasn’t sure how I was going to fix it. Well, first I found a way to fill in the scooped neck area. Then I created an inside edge, rolled it on itself, and with needle and thread tacked it down. I also tacked down those little bumps at the end of the rows. Voila! Now with any luck I’ll have the pattern posted  in my Bonanza shop (https://www.bonanza.com/booths/CrochetedButterfly) in about a week.

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Crescent Shawl blocked on pinning board

I am very pleased with how it turned out, despite all the trouble it gave me. I think I would change the yarn I used, though. Loops and Threads Woolike it a nice yarn, but I feel it was a little too soft. I would like to have a yarn with a little more body/stiffness to it so the ridges would hold better; perhaps a cotton/acrylic or wool blend. Or perhaps it’s just my OCD is showing again!

I am currently on a crocheting hiatus. I went to a rheumatologist yesterday and received a cortisone shot in my left thumb. I don’t know if any crocheters out there have had this problem, but I have had pain in my left thumb with crocheting for quite some time now, probably at least a decade. Up till January, however, I could always take a break for a couple days, the pain would go away, and I could crochet again. By January I was in the middle of making an afghan for my nephew and his to-be wife (Wedding Bells!) and sadly the pain became consistent in both thumbs. I finished the afghan but ordered new wrist splints that also had thumb splints. (I have been wearing wrist splints at night for over a decade due to carpal tunnel developed from crocheting – oh, what we do for love!) The splints have helped with the pain tremendously. My right thumb only hurts if I stress it, like carrying something heavy or opening a jar. I started an afghan for my other nephew getting married in September and the left thumb flared up again, hence the trip to the doctor. I have to get xrays and visit him in six weeks. Gee, who says getting old isn’t fun? Anyway, I have to take it easy for three days and I should be able to resume all activity in five, so that’s not too bad. I shall survive!

 

I certainly can’t speak for anyone else, but Father’s Day gifts were always a problem for me. My two siblings and I did the best we could, but I’m sure my father inwardly groaned at some of the presents we gave him! Anyway, I decided to check out what wonderful crochet gifts the creative people on Pinterest (and others around the net) might be suggesting for our hard-working dads.

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A sports-themed afghan could be perfect for many fathers! Manly Sports Lapghan by Crystal Porter from iyarny.wordpress.com; pattern found at https://www.allfreecrochetafghanpatterns.com/Lapghan-Patterns/Manly-Sports-Lapghan/ct/1
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And what better to go with sports but a beer bottle cozy? A free pattern from Evermine Occasions – https://www.evermine.com/blog/fathers-day-beer-and-crochet-cozy-pattern/
Loafers
So comfy Modern Men’s Loafers by Lisa van Klaveren. Pattern available at https://www.lovecrochet.com/us/modern-mens-loafers-crochet-pattern-by-lisa-van-klaveren
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For the periodic-table-inclined/”nerd” fathers, Megan of Left in Knots designed this clever “Dad, 24/7 365 days a year” tribute – http://www.leftinknots.com/home/2016/6/5/dad-247-365. This could also be cute done with crocheted versions of Scrabble letters.
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And let’s not forget the golfers out there! Beautiful club covers by Sarah of Repeat Crafter Me – http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2013/05/crochet-golf-club-cover-pattern.html?m=1
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Every coffee-lovin’ man deserves a great cozy, and Sharon of Table Top Jewels has a very nice variety available in her shop – https://www.etsy.com/listing/180433786/crochet-coffee-cozy-cup-sleeve-a-kelly?ref=shop_home_active_6 I could imagine other appliques to personalize the cozy even more (tool, fish, gardener, computer, etc).
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And now for the Star Wars fans (you know who you are!) – their very own adult sized Darth Vader crocheted mask! Pattern sold by My Little Chapina on Craftsy – https://www.craftsy.com/crocheting/patterns/darth-vader-crochet-hat-for-adults/275710
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Last but not least, for the dad who has everything, the Viking or Dwarven Beard by Melissa Campbell – free pattern with link to helmet at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/viking-or-dwarven-beard.
There was another crocheted item for dad that I decided not to list because I rather enjoy the “G” rating for my blog. Besides, that item would be much more appropriate for Mom to give Dad!

About a month ago I found a beautiful Ice yarn, Air Baby Alpaca. It’s a mix of alpaca, extrafine merino wool, viscose, and polyamide, and it’s so soft. It has been made into a chain, and since I’ve enjoyed working with other chained yarns, I decided to try it. Plus it came in a very pretty shell pink (pink with an undertone of peach) that would look really good on my mom.

I wanted to make a shawlette for my mom – just a little something to go over her shoulders without being cumbersome or heavy. I found the Dawn in the Woods Shawl by Elaine Phillips (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/dawn-in-the-woods-shawl) which was perfect because the length.can be adjusted. I was set!

While I was working on the last third of the shawlette I realized that it wasn’t going to be symmetrical. This bothered my sense of design balance (possibly a little OCD?) but my real problem was that when I tried it on it really looked “old lady-ish”. My mom’s style is more like Olivia’s in ‘Scandal’, not the Victorian lacy look, so I came to the realization this would be all wrong for her. I have come up with a Plan B, but this will have to be for her birthday because I ran out of time for Mother’s Day! Amazingly (or maybe not), the shawl ended up looking MUCH better on the dress form –

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So instead of this shawlette, I decided to fall back on an old standby – pigs. My mom has a wonderful collection, mostly figurines, and told the family years ago to not give her any more pigs. I have chosen to completely ignore this directive. Hence, behold the sweet little piggy bookmark (pattern from Ashlea Konecny at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pig-bookmark) –

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I also found a very unique present at Faerie Magazine that I thought my mom would like – Flying Prayer/Wish Paper (https://www.faeriemag.com/products/flying-wish-paper-mini-wishing-kit-dandelion-prayer). You write your prayer/wish on the paper, roll it up, put it on the platform card, and light it on fire. At the last moment “your wish magically lifts off the platform and rises to the heavens!”. How cool is that!

Flying Prayer Paper

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom – And to all of those wonderful mothers out there! We so deserve it!

I know that the first day of spring is designated as March 20th. However, March in the midwest where I was born doesn’t usually feel too much like spring. For me, Easter always seemed to be the more logical, fun, and yummy (mmmm, chocolate!) start of spring – and I still feel this way. So let the cuteness begin!

chick in egg

Peek-a-Boo Chick – http://grietjekarwietje.blogspot.com/2012/04/haakpatroon-kuikentje-in-ei-op-pootjes.html (in Dutch)

baby bunny

Baby Bunny – https://amigurumi.today/crochet-bunny-amigurumi-pattern/

Lace Eggs – http://www.dontpayfull.com/blog/6-quick-ways-to-save-money-on-easter-parties

lace eggs

Gossip Chicks – http://www.vendulkam.com/2015/04/happy-easter_6.html

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bunny basket

Bunny Basket – http://foodsafteyvideos.blogspot.se/

hens

Pretty Hens – http://handmade-paradise.ru/kak-svyazat-kryuchkom-kurochku/http://handmade-paradise.ru/kak-svyazat-kryuchkom-kurochku/

Lamb

Lacy Lamb  –  http://art-madam.pl/szukaj,artysta-tygrysiesploty

 

 

mandala eggs

 

Mandala Eggs – http://www.echtstudio.nl/pakketten.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crochet Duckies  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/karla-fitchs-ravelry-store

rubber duckiessweet lamb

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby Lamb – http://www.sewrella.com/2016/12/little-crochet-lamb.html

                   And the Big Man Himself, Grandpa Easter Bunny

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www.bonanza.com/booths/CrochetedButterfly

Happy Easter to All, and to all a no-upset-stomach, no-sugar-high, blissfully quiet night!

(All photos reposted from Pinterest. I do my best to give the correct URL to each photo, but I can’t be responsible if the site has taken the page down or if there is no pattern. I consider this type of blog “inspiration”, and if a pattern is available, that’s just a happy bonus!)

A little while ago I spotted a crescent-shaped scarf/shawl and fell in love; ever since I have been chomping at the bit to design one. This couldn’t be all that difficult, could it? Little did I realize what I was getting myself into!

This adventure began at the beginning of March. I decided that I wanted to have a curved ridge to mimic the crescent shape and to give it a more modern look. Then, since I have also fallen in love with gradient color schemes, I chose to use Michael’s Loops & Thread Woolike yarn in ivory, beige, and cool gray with just one row of charcoal to strongly define the edge. Seemed like a plan to me. Ha!

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Gradient bands of color

 

I am now on the third version of this scarf. (Amazingly, the yarn did hold up to all my frogging.) At first I tried to figure this out by myself and failed miserably. Then I found a free crescent pattern to give me some guidance, but after a few rows I didn’t like the extreme “U” shape it was taking, so that was frogged. Then I tried my own version, but that turned out too straight. Finally I came up with what I have now, and I think it’s going to be all right. Up to this point my designs have been very simple, so I just wasn’t ready for one to give me such a fight!

There are still two problems, though. 1) It seems that when you start a crescent shaped scarf with a short neck row, you end up with a separately curved neckline from the body of the scarf (see photo below). This has happened to me three times now. I’ve seen a video where this was mentioned, but I also saw a photo of a full crescent shawl without this problem, so I’m not sure if it’s just me or not. I am hoping that I can correct this with an inside edging of some sort. 2) I wasn’t thinking clearly enough to realize that on some row ends I had three stitches and some I had four. The four makes a little bump-out that I don’t want (see top of photo below). I can easily correct this in the written pattern, but I am hoping again that I can correct this with the inside edging of some sort.  (Insert deleted expletive of your choice here.)

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Wonky neckline and end of row bumps

I have one or possibly two more sets of the three-color bands to go, and then to come up with my miracle edging. But I won’t give up on the scarf/shawlette after this one is done, because I saw such wonderful designs while researching this project that I’ll just have to keep on going!

P.S. – If anyone knows of a solution to the wonky neckline, PLEASE let me know. I will be forever in your debt.

I couldn’t resist the allure of Irish Crochet Lace for this most wonderful of Irish holidays, St. Paddy’s Day!

Paraphrased from Wikipedia, “Irish crochet” was originally developed in mid-nineteenth century Ireland as a method of imitating expensive Venetian point laces. Irish crochet lace is characterized by separately crocheted motifs, which were then assembled into a mesh background.

This lace is made with a very fine steel crochet hook and fine crochet cotton or linen thread. It begins with an outline of the pattern on a piece of cloth. Each motif is then crocheted separately, using cotton cord for volume and shaping. The finished motifs are then basted (sewn with a loose stitch for temporary tacking) onto a cloth in the shape of the pattern. The motifs are then joined using chains and picots. When all the motifs have been joined together forming one piece of lace the basting stitch is removed from the back cloth revealing the completed lace.

I’ve gathered the following examples of Irish lace from Pinterest, all coming from Russian sites. However, I did find a wonderful Facebook group called Irish Crochet Lab that is run by Larisa Chilton, who is an instructor and has developed an online course for those who want to learn Traditional and Modern Irish crochet lace. You can find Ms. Chilton’s site at https://www.facebook.com/videotutorialsandpatterns/ . Enjoy!

Irish Crochet 2

From postila.ru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irish crochet 3

From postila.ru, a type of Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irish crochet 6

https://www.livemaster.ru/item/17305403-odezhda-vintazhnyj-kaftan-suvenir

Irish crochet 5

http://www.facebook.com/Asia-Verte

Irish crochet 7

http://www.facebook.com/Asia-Verten

Oh, yes, just one more thing. Today is my brother-in-law’s birthday – Happy Birthday, Craig!

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