Monday, 30 April 2012

Tiny 3-d Needle Lace Daisy & a crocheted choker

I think I might be coming down with some kind of chill?  My throat feels a little dry, and my forehead is getting clammy but - who cares !!

Finally, here’s a little ‘on topic’ creation for you…

Tiny needle lace daisy - 3-d

Because, very close after my (total obsession) liking for Roses, comes tiny, unassuming daisies.  I’ve wanted to make a 3-d needle lace daisy for ages, so I’m pleased this little try-out worked.  Its 1 1/2 inches. 

If you’d like to make one, first you’ll need to understand how to create stable, miniature 3-d fabric in this way, so you could perhaps, think about buying my research file? that you can find here.    *wink*

Here’s the reverse...

Reverse of tiny needle lace daisy 3-d

Its totally 3-d, by that I mean its made in the hand and I learnt a lot from trying it out.  Like for instance, there is no need to knot the thread for each new petal, you simply stitch over its tail, as you would stitch over the standard Cording, for the rest of the shape. 

How did I make it?  First off, remember those needle lace brooches I took photos of at the Ashmolean Museum?  Well I made the centre of this flower in the same way, that is, by Cording Buttonhole in a spiral journey. 

Let me tell you, starting the shape off took some thinking through.  That turned out to be the easy part!  In the end I worked out that its far easier to control the emerging shape if you place some kind of weight on the Cord row and tension it vertically, by dangling it under your work as you stitch.  You end up stitching a little sideways, perhaps, but that’s when the stitching gets a lot faster! 

For the tiny petals I used Corded Detached Buttonhole with a blunt tapestry needle, snaking upwards from 3 loops off the yellow centre.  I made a couple of little mistakes, as its so hard to see where your next loop is at times, but not to worry, because the overall effect makes it look more handmade – which is what I was after! (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it !!)

I hope to make a little daisy brooch with this, eventually.  I’m still working out the design part. 

I didn’t just make the daisy from ‘nowhere’, first I took a trip down memory lane... 

And I ended-up making this very clever (free) crocheted choker pattern that you can find here.

Crochet Rose choker 

Crochet Rose Choker 2

As roses go, this Briar Rose pattern ticks virtually all of my, personal boxes.  The central area is complex, the overall design is balanced and the 5 petal formula is a classic.  I used Baby Bamboo in Toybox Red for the rose and DMC Petra crochet cotton No.3 for the choker in Forest Green.  Do I love that colour! 

The red is much better in the flesh because its always really hard to photograph.

The green is also far richer than the image and a very natural, unbiased colour green too.

Then I made up one of Astri’s fabulous Rose Granny Squares – can you believe this pattern, it simply has to be the best rose granny I’ve ever seen!

Spectacular Granny Square

Its so deliciously complex and yet really easy to make.  (The wonderful) Astri has even made a video about how to do this, that you can find here.   You can also watch the little video on her blog page, in a smaller format.  


Must dash ppl!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Not on topic but a bit of crochet and knitting for new followers

Ooh goodie, new followers! I’ve noticed that some of you are crocheters and so considering I haven’t posted any for a while, here goes..

Well this post isn’t on topic and nothing is really finished but I had to tell you about a new, neat little book and point you in the direction of a wonderful free crochet rose pattern plus tell you about an amazing new knitting technique that I came across, that links in with earlier stuff about Viking knit.

So after I bought Nicky Epstein’s Knitted Flowers book, I just had to buy her Crocheted Flowers edition.  Below is a pattern from that book that I’ve mistakenly altered (slightly) by switching to a smaller hook for the last 4 petals, but am quite happy with the results because those petals became the start of the spiral formation and nestled down nicely to suggest the central cone (that I keep referring to).  As you can see this is a really good classic rose pattern. 

Unlike the formula for say a classic Tudor Rose, you can see this little darling has a central formation of 3 petals that hug the all-important central, coiled (supporting) petal.  Then there are four outer petals that are cupped.  Finally, there are 5 more outer petals, that are much more open. 

crochet rose

I find that when you come across a pattern for a strip rose, how you assemble the petals while sewing it together, is very important.  In my opinion, the formula of 3 (+1), 4, 5 is the one that creates most balance in this context.

Beth Lea pattern for crochet rose

Then I decided to go back to my own design for a crocheted rose.  I’m not absolutely happy with this version yet, because even though the petals are shaped the way I like, the whole thing looks a little too chunky?  It reminds me a lot of an Afghan rose, that perhaps would be better suited to being framed within a Granny Square or something?  What I will say for it though: is it’s turned out looking quite ‘vintage’.

Speaking of wonderful patterns for an Afghan rose, take a look at this blog of beautiful creations and happiness!Apple Blossom Dreams.  There is a link on there to a fantastic vintage crochet-a-long rose Afghan.  If you delve into the history behind the discovery of  that pattern, you will be on the edge-of-your-seat.  I love provenance stories!

So, after that I had a look on ‘Google Images’ for a good free crocheted rose pattern and found this on the Crochet Spot website.  This one is available for free but I see the designer is also selling another very good crochet rose pattern.  As you can see, I haven’t finished sewing it together yet, but will be adopting the 3,4,5 formation mentioned above.  I think there are more petals on this one, but that wont alter my approach. 

Crochet Spot - rose

Then, after all that crocheting, I decided to go and knit something from a cute book that I had in the bottom of a drawer that I found the other day when I was looking for something else. 

Jean Greenhowe’s Bazaar Knits is full of very cute things that you can make quite quickly and sell at garden fetes and school Bring & Buy sales.  This is the pattern for her dainty floral brooch.  They’re tiny and would really suit keyfobs or children’s clothes.  I don’t know yet what I’m going to make with them?

Jean Greengrows Flower brooches

Then I made this very interesting specimen!  This tiny petal will form part of a Periwinkle – I know, its the wrong colour, but I was getting quite carried away by then, you understand!! 

In case you can’t really tell what’s going on down there,  what you’re looking at is the tiniest ‘knitted envelope’ that’s made in one journey and results in no seaming!  Its completely different to construct than an i-cord and you make it on 2 standard needles.

Periwinkle petal

It’s an ingenious technique from this cute little book that I really love – I think I mentioned it before?   The pattern is listed in the front as ‘more challenging’.  I really like that because the thing that fascinates me most, is always to be learning cool new techniques.

Knitted Flowers by Susie Johns

Then Amazon sent me an email about another new of fabulous knitted flowers book called: Noni Flowers

Knitted Flowers

You can read more about this terrific book here.  What’s different about this offering to the world of textile flowers is that each knitted version is photographed in context, that is, on the stalk or branch of its botanical master copy.  On top of that, the treatment of the centre of each flower is unlike anything I have ever seen.  I think I shall have do a proper review of this book in the near future because this offering surpasses the legal limit of cuteness - lol.

The best website I’ve seen about knitted flowers is The Knot Garden.  I think the author may be on a blog break at the present time.  She’s a very nice person and her blog is wonderfully sweet.  Her basic advice: ‘to use smaller needles than the pattern states’ is a golden nugget.

Oh dear and I said a while ago NO MORE BOOKS but you have to agree, you can only go on for so long on any diet, before the inevitable ………. RELAPSE.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

More Knitted Roses and other stuff

Recently I took a look over all my ‘unfinished projects’, in their neat transparent wallets and was a little dismayed.  How could I have accumulated so many??  Astonishingly the one, or two “distractions”, have turned into a couple of arms full.  This is not a situation I can accommodate for much longer, as the drawer is now too full to close properly.  There are multiple, groaning half-loved creations, fighting their way into the daylight again….

Being bright April once more, when everything is really waking up from the long Winter, I had to whip up some pronto gifts.  Reluctant to start something too fiddly, I decided to rustle up a bag charm and corsage.

The patterns can be found in Nicky Epstein’s Knitted Flowers – a favourite book of mine that I like to  pour over when my brain is on overload.

But first, here’s a picture of the smallest shape I have made so far using the ‘Bordered Turns’ technique described in Elizabethan Stitches. 

Oh, by the way, if you have a copy of that book already, I’d (um) like to direct you to the acknowledgements page at the front – it makes for very interesting reading….(cough, cough)

Bordered Turns - small motif

Although this orange petal is just a small doodle cloth rendition, notice how you can achieve a finer tip, that tilts slightly to the right.  Now that I have gotten the hang of what goes where, I can see that this is a much faster way to work.

When I return to the Peacock motif, I look forward very much to using this technique to stitch his tiny beak.  On the subject of the Peacock, unfortunately I had a little accident with his neighbour and to cut a long story short, I needed to do this:


Yes, a highly disconcerting mishap to say the least!  Never mind, its not the end of the world.  Perhaps, when I was a tad younger, I may have just thrown the whole thing in the bin but instead, I’ve decided to use this section of the design as a slip and shall be stitching it to another piece of linen.  The difficulty with that trick is, that the white ground fabric will, in all probability, poke out from somewhere or other.  So I decided to obviate that threat and simply couch a black outline all the way round with fine gold thread, as I have seen done at the V&A.

I want to keep this post short, so let’s talk knitted flowers !!

First, I made this bag charm…

Knitted Rose bag charm 

I had a little accident with that too, in that after stitching it to the backing, it started to buckle.  Again, this was not the disaster you might think, in that by doing that, it means the piece is much more 3-dimensional than usual.  Because usually, all the weight is at the front and it tends to pull forward after you have attached it to the handle of your bag.  Thus, the backing becomes very visible.  This tendency is most annoying, so instead, this serendipitous buckling, means you can appreciate the design from above as well – OK, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it !!!

This is the back…

Back of Bag Charm

As you can see, I made the back a little shabby chic.

Then I made this little single rose…

Pink Knitted Rose with three leaves

It’s very small and involves the ‘360 degree left needle manoeuvre’.

For the backing, I used leftover interfaced floral fabric (see Kindle Cover) then a quick round of blanket stitches, completed with a brooch pin..

Back of Knitted Rose Corsage  

Gotta go ppl !

P.S.… I hope to have some further news on my Plaited Braid Stitch research soon….