Learning the lucet!

As a lover of fiber arts, I want to try it all!   Knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning, dying, just to name a few!  This includes developing even more obscure talents, like making lucet cords.  What the heck is a lucet you might ask?  (I did!)  A lucet is a type of braiding fork that dates as far back as the viking era and produces a square cord, not completely dissimilar to its rounder cousin, the i-cord.  I started off with a lovely little lucet from StichDiva.com and this youtube video.

One interesting thing about lucet making is the tension isn’t controlled by the size of one’s lucet fork.  This is a lot different from a knitting or crocheting perspective, where the size of your needles or hook helps control the size of the stitches.  On a lucet, it’s how hard you pull the yarn during the braiding process that makes your cord tighter or looser.

Always keeping the cord centered between the two fork prongs, you have to pull to tension after each wrap of the yarn:

lucetpull

And depending how hard you pull, you end up with different results:

lucettension

So once you’ve made a lovely lucet cord, what do you do with it?  Well, it can be all kinds of things:  drawstrings, bracelets, necklaces, scarves, embroidery for costumes, a jump rope, a noose…. okay, maybe not those last two.  But basically, anywhere you might use an i-cord, you can use a lucet cord as well!

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August 2, 2013. Tags: , , , , . Projects. 2 comments.

Catnip Squids

Check out my latest free ravelry pattern !  It’s a fun little toy for all the furry friends in your life.  These catnip squids are super easy and quick to make.  Plus, this is a great stash buster project for leftover bits of yarn.  My cats go crazy for their squirmy legs!

squid5

July 28, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , . Crochet Pattern. Leave a comment.

Tea, Earl Grey, Hot!

I’ve been running amok the last few months and have totally neglected my blog!  The good news is I’m bursting with loads of new crafty projects to share!

Uncertainly, I have entered the dark realm from whence I may never return, by which I mean sewing.  My yarn stash could already warrant its own zip code, so fabric is a very dangerous line to cross.  My Grandmother Mary tried unsuccessfully to teach me sewing as a child.  My dad encouraged me with the gift of a vintage sewing machine.  Still, the skill never truly stuck.  I can’t even sew a straight line.  But I have resolved to learn this year!

I needed a simple project to get me started and I found a wonderful tea wallet tutorial on Christy’s Creations blog.  It is certainly a beginner-proofed project and the instructions were so easy to follow!  Three fat quarters will make six of these pretty pocket-sized gifts.  Plus, they don’t just have to be for tea.  They also hold business cards, credit cards and even mini Moleskine notebooks.  Check out the lovely results:

teawallet

Any suggestions for other beginner sewing projects?  Perhaps pillow cases?

July 25, 2013. Sewing. 2 comments.

Cheshire Cat!

If you are as amigurumi obsessed as I am, you may have noticed the voyages of djonesgirl’s pirate cat around the internet on Craftster, Flickr, Pinterest and more.  Inspired by her adaptation, I decided to make one of my favorite characters of all time:  Wonderland’s Cheshire cat.  Here he is:

cheshirecatt

This pattern is from a Japanese book dubbed by English readers as “Japanese Amigurumi Collection Volume 2”.  It’s available via etsy.com or ebay.com.  The charts are fairly easy to follow if you have some previous ami making experience.  I love that it is a great “blank canvas” pattern that you can adapt to make into any kind of cat you want.

japaneseamibook

April 21, 2013. Tags: , , , . Projects. 1 comment.

Scoodies and more

Check it out – my Yub Nub Scoodie pattern has been featured by the good folks at geekcrafts.com!

Ewok Hood Picture

Also, congrats to Cynthia who won this lovely felted moebius basket from the February giveaway!

pink_moebius

April 1, 2013. Stories. 3 comments.

Felting is Contagious

I finally caught the felting bug.  For years, I never understood why people would bother to knit something huge, only to have it shrink into something small.  It always seemed counterproductive to me.  If you want a small thing, knit a small thing.  It’s faster.  Now that I’ve caught the bug, I realize I completely missed the point.  Felting wool is magical!

Felts transform to create wonderfully sculptural pieces that are thicker and more durable than their unfelted counterparts.  Felted bags and baskets won’t let your pens and needles stick through, so you don’t have to line them.  Your delicate wool normally too weak for daily use becomes more hardy and long lasting.

Here are some results from my recent felt adventures.  First, the Lucy Bag – it’s styled after Japanese Knot Bags (love!) and is totally addictive knitting.  I’ve made two so far and had to force myself to take a break to finish other projects promised to people.  Otherwise I’d probably have a few more by now.  This great stash-busting bag closes itself so no zippers or other fussy finishes are needed.  This isn’t the easiest pattern to find, but you can  order it here from Blackberry Ridge Mill.  The orange bag was knitted with Twilleys Freedom Spirit Chunky yarn (bulky).  The green bag was knitted with Patons Classic Wool (worsted).  Both of these are great feltable yarns that create completely opaque and firm fabric.

Twilleys Lucy BagPatons Lucy Bag

Next, I made this Moebius Basket by Cat Bordhi.  Cat’s moebius patterns are a little intimidating at first but completely satisfying once you get past casting on. This video is extremely helpful to get you started.  I used Noro Kureyon yarn which felted into a soft, colorful fabric.  The basket holds it’s own shape but just barely.  I can still see through the stitches when the basket is held up to the light.  I plan to try this project again with a firmer felting yarn.  This yarn might be more suitable for something you want to be soft and flexible, like slippers, rather than a more sculptural piece that needs structure.

Noro Mobeius Basket

What are your favorite and least favorite felting yarns?  What are your favorite felted projects?  Leave a comment on this post between now and the end of February (2013) to enter to win a surprise felt!

February 9, 2013. Tags: , , , , , . Projects. 6 comments.

Jayne Cobb Hat Lip Balm Cozy

I came late to Firefly fandom.  Initially, the name of the series and the western themes didn’t appeal to me, but I was eventually convinced, against my stubborn nature, to give the show a try.  And WOW!  I was completely hooked.  As a small tribute to fans of the short-lived series, I adapted Kristy Ashmore’s Lip Balm Cozy into a Jayne Cobb hat.  It’s a great, quickie gift for the super geek in your life.  Not a fan of lip balm?  The hat can also be used as a pencil topper or ornament.

Firefly

Download the pattern for free on Ravelry.  And special thanks to Kristy for permission to post this variation of her original pattern.

January 5, 2013. Tags: , , , . Crochet Pattern. 2 comments.

Happy New Year and a Cheese Ball!

Every year for the holidays, my Grandma Darleen would make this cheese “ball”  (she actually rolled it into a log shape, wrapped in wax paper and foil) and served it with Ritz crackers.  My family devoured the delight ravenously, as if we hadn’t already eaten her decadent turkey dinner with homemade pies for dessert.  I think that’s proof there is something really addictive about this recipe.  Maybe it’s the black olives?  (They’re my fav!)  In the holiday spirit of sharing good food with friends and family, I present to you my Grandma’s type-writer scribed recipe card:

image

December 31, 2012. Tags: , , . Recipes. 1 comment.

Merry Christmas!

Hope you have a very merry Christmas!  Make your very own tree friend:  Ravelry Xmas Tree Pattern

Merry Tree

December 25, 2012. Tags: , . Projects. Leave a comment.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Collins

I met Tom Collins as a high school student when he was asked to judge a school art competition.  He welcomed me into his studio and taught me about lost wax casting jewelry design.  He was truly a master of his art and in my humble opinion, remains unmatched to this day.  I’ve never met anyone who could paint in wax and silver like him.  His cherubs had souls.  He could tell an entire story on a ring.  His crucifixes made you believe.  You are missed, Mr. Collins.  Rest in peace.

Thomas Lynn Collins
April 27, 1945 – December 11, 2000
Thomas Lynn Collins was known as a master artist
and craftsman. His one-of-a-kind work has been
showcased nation-wide at Neiman Marcus to the
Jackson Hole Trader catalog. He was well known to
Dallas area jewelry designers, such as Andrea
Barnett for his craftsmanship. His work also
included carved intricate sculptures from dragons
to angels in stone and fine metals. Tom enriched
the community by mentoring art students and
teaching them how to carve in wax. In 1999 Tom
organized several artists in the community to start
the Rockwall Artists League. His family set up the
original scholarship fund upon his death for
donations instead of flowers. The scholarship fund
has been continued by the Rockwall Art League in
Tom’s memory because of his devotion to the arts
and Rockwall.

December 11, 2012. Tags: . Stories. 2 comments.

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