,I left home 9 days ago with enough bags of yarn to last me my entire vacation. I did not want to run out like I did on our previous trip, necessitating an emergency trip to Michaels, the nearest craft store to my hotel. With three major projects in hand, I was content that I would keep my hands busy until I returned home to my extensive stash. As with any of my road trip projects, the design had to fulfill several important criteria: engaging design, clear directions with repeats that were easily mastered without continued reference to the printed pattern, few or no yarn changes. Here was a situation where pattern and yarn intersected--well mostly. I had two large skeins of Red Heart Super Saver Ombre in Scuba that I had bought on sale and which were taking space in my bins. I liked the light to darker turquoise shades, and the yardage
(482 yards per skein) would allow me to take on an extensive piece.
In my scrolling through Pinterest I found the Wave Shawl Pattern by Rachel from Desert Blossom Crafts. (http://desertblossomcrafts.com/2018/05/07/wave-shawl) The mesh and shell design was striking and different from the other patterns I had crocheted without being too complex. However, Rachel's beautiful pattern called for a fingering weight yarn with color bands from blue through to purple. It was #2 in a superwash merino wool(460 yards), while my yarn was a worsted weight. Instead of a lightweight spring shawl, I would end up with a much heavier garment for autumn. While the original pattern called for an F hook (3.75mm), I had to move up to a J hook to get the open mesh in the outer part of the design. The piece was worked from the bottom tip up in one large triangular piece. Although I started with a V-stitch, to produce the open mesh, after several inches, I began to incorporate the shell stitch. The denser shell produced a v shaped segment in the middle of the shawl that was surrounded by the mesh. The visual effect was stunning. By the time we had reached our destination in Chautauqua, New York (7 hours), I had added the second skein and was at least half way done. There was a lot of down time on this vacation with extensive porch sitting and lectures. I was able to add enough inches to my shawl to get a pleasing drape. My finished piece measured 32 inches deep with a wingspan of 76 inches. I was thrilled that I had made the translation to the heavier worsted yarn. The piece truly conveyed the the "wave" feeling.
As I played with many ways for wearing, tying, and draping my shawl, I knew that I needed a shawl pin if I hoped to create some more sophisticated designs. I was delighted to find a hand tooled wooden piece at a craft fair that was in Chautauqua for the week-end. The pin was a lovely reminder of my week at this wonderful cultural enclave.
When I started the Wave Shawl, I was not sure whether I would keep the piece or give it away. When I was done I was sure that it would be the perfect accent to my fall wardrobe. A simple black sweater and skirt would be dressed up with this amazing geometric fashion statement.
I finally made contact with the Children's Life Program at Yale New Haven Hospital and arranged for a dozen caps to be mailed. When my granddaughter was born 18 months ago she was only 4lbs 11 ounces and dropped down to 4 lbs 4 ounces before she left the hospital. The wonderful care that that our little one and the whole family received still continues to inspire me to share my talents with those who are in need or who are less fortunate than our loving family. Although I had made several beanies for my granddaughter,, the nurses always made sure that her head was covered so that she did not lose body heat. Many caring individuals had knitted and crocheted these tiny hats so that babies like my granddaughter would have that extra love and warmth. It was always a pleasant surprise to see which little cap she would would be wearing when we came to visit. I had long wanted to return the favor, and now I have the address. The spokesperson for the department was helpful and encouraging. In the future, I might even include some of the comfort dolls or make an octopus for preemie hands to hold. For now, I have made more than a dozen hats for newborns.and am ready to send off my first batch.
Each time I start one of these projects, I am hopeful that I will make a big dent in my scrap pile. I made about 30 comfort dolls, but the heap still remains. These little jewels might be the answer. I found that I can dash one of in about 30 minutes. Many are one color, but I like to put on a contrast stripe trim to perk them up.
After a considerable amount of scrolling and reading, I found 4 patterns that worked well for these little crocheted hats.
The first style was written by Tia Davis and published in Crochet Rochelle. The pattern is based on the double crochet stitch that is built out from a magic circle. After reaching the correct diameter for the crown, stop increasing and crochet enough rounds to get the crown to mid-ear measurement. If you choose, add an additional row of single crochet in contrasting color. The pattern can be found on Ravelry as a free download. I have also seen this pattern on Pinterest in sizes newborn though adult.
The Parker Crochet Newborn Hat was developed by Sewrella. Instructions are available in paper and video format. This hat also starts with double crochet stitches that come out from a magic circle. After the crown circle is formed, stop increasing and crochet enough rows to make the size of the hat. There is an added ribbed row followed by single crochet that make this hat quite attractive. The url for the pattern is http://www.sewrella.com/the-parker-crochet-newborn-hat/ A free pattern for booties is also available. The pattern is available through Pinterest and Ravelry.
The Layla-Lu Beanie (from the Sunshine and Sewing Basket) adds a whimsical touch that is suitable for the tiny little miss. For this pattern use a thicker DK or a thinner Worsted yarn. After making the circle for the crown. The next row calls for 2 DC in the same space that followed by a skipped stitch. Succeeding rows are crocheted in the open spaces. The effect is more open and lacy. the cap is finished with a couple of rows of single crochet. For specific directions, see Pinterest. You can also find the pattern if you go to Sunshine and a Sewing Basket and look for past popular posts. The author made the beanie for her Mandela 67 project.
The fourth style, "Little Heart Crochet Preemie Hat, " is made with a Half Double Crochet Stitch, using an I (5.5mm) hook. I had tried some patterns which used an H hook, but I found that the final product was too dense and not inviting for a little preemie baby. The tiny heart applique offers a physical reminder that the hat was made with heart and love. See: hjttp://www.crochetforyoublog.com/2018/02/little-heart-crochet-preemie-hat.
I will be taking a bag of small batches of yarn with me on my next field trip. On this trip, I am determined not to run out of yarn. The big question is how many beanies can I make in a week of driving and meetings. With the four patterns and many colors, I will keep busy and engaged.
Which of the patterns do you like best? I love seeing the dedication of devoted crocheters who contribute so many of these little love hats to our youngest children. Please share examples of your work and tell me about your experiences.
After the wonderful response I got from my knitting friends, I knew that I had to provide my fellow crocheters with patters and contact links for a crocheted version of the Comfort Doll. As I noted in my knitting version of my artical, these small dolls are distributed in wartorn countires and disaster sites where children have few possessions, let alone a doll to hug and give comfort. One of the original campaigns to provide "Izzy Dolls" was started in memory of a Canadian solier, Master Corporal Mark Isfeld. His mother Carold made these dolls so that her solider son would have something to give children he met while serving as a peacekeeper. After my article was posted I learned from a wonderful reader that the organization that distributes these dolls is still in existence and going strong. Canada's Health Partners International packs humanitarian kits of essentail medicines and supplies for primary care that Doctors and Healthcare professionals take to these sites. Instead of packing materials, wach box contains 122 dolls that cushion the medical supplies. The dolls are given to the young patients. The Izzy Dollis frequently that child's first toy. My first experiences were with the knitted versions. Using different bands of color that marked off the features of the doll, I knitted a square. I made a closed end tube , stuffed it, closed the tube, and used strategic stitching to separated the arms, legs, and head of the doll. Complete directions are available on the website (hpicanada.ca) What I did not know at that time was that crocheted versions are also available.
Another organizaiton that distributes these comfort dolls is Knitting4Peace. This group distributes shawels, sleeping mats, hats, and mittens, but the dolls are the most requested items. Individuals and groups called Peace Pods made the dolls. Creative possibilities are limitless.
After reading patterns from these organizations and from other online sources, I realized that there are several ways to make your crocheted doll.
As with the knitted version, you will crochet a striped square with bands of different widths to denote the different parts of the body. Chain 27 stitches and sc into the send stitch from the hook. Continue to sc 26 stitches. Most directions call for a G hook. When you have completed the square fasten off, and fold the square in half and make a running stitch along the hat/hair rows at the top of the doll. Pull your yarn tight and run through several times to secure the stitching. Close a seam down the back of the doll. The seam should be at the the mid back of the doll. After you stuff the doll with fiberfill, you will close the bottom. If you have placed the seams correctly, you will see how to stitch perpendicularly to the bottom (shoes) to make the legs. See photos for stitching stitching arms and neck.
A second version has you crocheting in the round so that you avoid the bulky seam. Follw directions as noted above for constructing the doll.
A third version (from Knitting for Peace Pattern) has the crocheter make a small dark cap at the top of the doll. The instructions suggest that you use textured or eyelas yaarn to look like hair. I found this difficult and just used black yarn. The pattern provides specific directions for the face, clothes and shoes. As with the other dolls, stuff when complete and sew up bottom so that the feet are placed next to one another. Follow directions to make legs, arms, and neck. This was the last doll that I tried to execute to see which method worked best. Of the three dolls, I prefer to make a tube in the round and sew up the top. This alternative allows me to make hair or a cap before I secure it closed.
Please make your dolls with medium brown or dark brown faces as many of these dolls go to Central and South America, Haiti, and various countries in Africa. My first comfort dolls had black eyes with no additional features. I did find some black yarn that had a thread of silver running through. I sewed several times over a crocheted stitch to make the eye. Then I noticed that I could make an eye by using 2 stands of white yarn, stitched 4 times across 2 stitches. I followed this with 2 strands of black yarn stitched vertically. This eye was more expressive. I added a simple nose and mouth.
You can even embroider a motif on the shirt. Please note that other than the face color, the dolls should have three colors.
Whether you create dolls as an individual or in a group, you can mail your creative comfort dollies to collection points for the two organizations. The dolls should not be longer than 7 inches so that they can easily be sent on to their destinations. Please include your name and email so that the organizations can acknowledge the receipt of the dolls.
2600 Leyden Street
Denver, CO 80207
2907 Portland Drive
Oakville, ON LGH5S4
Your good wishes, hopes, and prayers go with your doll that you created with love into the open arms needy child.
The week before I left for the American Hosta Society Convention in Philadelphia with my husband, Bert, I was scrolling Pinterest and became intriqued with a pattern created from a knitted square that was easily transfromed into a "comfort doll," 7 inches tall. The original site was in French and read: "Faites un bon homme toute-et-un." Although the directions were also in French, it was possible to decipher the pattern and analyze the picture to create my own little man. The shoes, plants, belt, shirt, face, and hat were designated by a specific number of rows of different colored yarns. I started making the dolls with light colored faces, like the ones in the French Pattern. However, as I continued to create dolls, I realized that I needed to make dark daces as most of these dolls were going to Central America, The Caribbean, South America, Africa, or to minority communities in the U.s.
Basically, I cast on 32 stitches to knit a square with 4 rows for the shoes, 14 rows for the pants, 1 row for the belt, 12 rows for the shirt, 10 rows for the face, 1 row of contrast yarn, and 10 rows for the hat. I used a #6 (4.0mm) needle. Then the square was sewn into a closed end tube, stuffed, and closed at the bottom. Simple stitching marked off the arms and legs. Eyes or a face was embroidered. As I continued to do my research, this pattern was repeated by many individuals and groups, paid, and unpaid. Basically, I continued to use this free download and a similar pattern offered by Knitting4Peace. Some patterns call for hair instead of a hat.
Originally, I hoped to donate my dollies to local homeless shelters and emergency homes, but this proved difficult as the administrators had enough or did not want toys. Therefore, I decided to find some national or international organization that regularly disperses these dolls to needy children in war torn countries or at disaster sites. The comfort dolls are called different names depending on the area receiving them. Among the most familiar are Jou Jou Dolls, Duduaza dolls (Somalia), and Izzy Dolls (Syria). The original project was developed in memory of a Canadian Soldier, Mark Isfield who noticed the need for dolls for children who had to flee their homes, leaving behind their treasured possessions. National campaigns were set up in Canada, and to date over a million dolls have been distributed. All of the dolls are knitted by volunteers, and distribution costs are covered by donations to nonprofit charities.
Before I sent off my own basket of dolls, I wanted to be sure that the organizations were still viable as many of the postings dated from 2015 and 2016. That was when I found Knitting4Peace, an organization with a newsletter, Global Yarns, that shares current stories of distributions and experiences. Donors contribute their knitting though Peace Pod groups or through individual contributions. There is even a group on Ravelry. Knitting4Peace started with knitted shawls for women, but has since expanded to hats, mittens, washcloths, mats, and the dolls they call Peace Pals. Patterns are provided for knitted and crocheted dolls. They use a configuration similar to the one I had discovered on Pinterest. The organization distributes goods from local "Community Pearls" as well as from its collection site in Colorado. Sometimes individuals who travel to designated sites take the dolls to the matching organizations or to homes in such places as Haiti, Guatemala, Honduras, Bolivia or to various countries in Africa.
My local Peace Pod is an hour from my home, but I was very excited to note that there was a summer program in Chautauqua, New York. The founder of the group is handing over the group to a new executive director. Ironically, my husband and I had received an invitation to join my son's mother-in-law at her summer home in Chautauqua this July. I plan to bring a few of my dolls, but I will send the rest to the general collection site. Anyway, the future of the group looks bright,and I am looking forward to be part of their mission.
This non-profit organization dis dedicated to "crafting hope, healing, and peace one stitch at a time tough nonviolent compassionate action." Members are "committed to the well-being of women and children in our own communities and those living in global areas of conflict." The Peace Pals are the most frequently requested items. The organization requests that the dolls have light brown to dark brown faces. I am currently working on more of my brown dollies. Patterns are free, and the dolls are not sold. They are given freely to boys and girls of all ages, who need a doll to hug and give comfort. The organization makes every attempt not to compete with local craftspeople who are trying to make a living off their craft.
For more information go directly to their website: https://www.knitting4peace.org/
Finished Peace Dolls can be sent to the collection site:
3600 Leyden Street
Denver, C) 80207
I am very excited by this new endeavor. Although I really enjoy knitting and crocheting for gifts and sale, it is always a pleasure for me to give back to the world. I already participate in a group Called Threads of Love that makes shawls and baby blankets for cancer patients. Many of the individuals who have received those gifts have communicated with our group and expressed their appreciation for the warm expressions of healing and hope that our knitted and crocheted pieces have given them. I know that we will not get a direct response from the individual boys and girls who receive our dolls. However, when I watch my own granddaughter with the dolls that I have made for her, I know that I want other children to have a "baby" to hug. As I get more information and feedback, I will be happy to share the news with my readers.
Each Spring and Summer, I glory in the richness and splendor of my husbands garden. It is hard to imagine that there could be so many shades of green from the deepest blue-green, to to rich pine colored solids, yellow and chartreuse , and muted shades that boast an irredescent sheen. Words can not begin to describe the splendor, nor can photos or yarn capture the shades and hues. Last week, I guided my knitting friends through the garden path as I created a striped, hooded sweater in rich lime that is meant for my granddaughter's fall wardrobe.
(http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/graden-inspriations-for-knitting-a-toddler-striped-hooded-cardigan ) Today I am inspired by a different muse. These plants are the muted houkeras.The greens are sage-like with sight brown and tawny colors as the threads vary and change. This garden is my husbands work of art. The canvas is 2+ acres of wooded land that he has converted to a Hosta paradise. In addition to the 1000+ different varieties of Hostas, he has supplemented with grasses, Japanese Maples, Heukeras, Epemedia, and a variety of Flowering Perennials. As I explained in my last post, my husband, Bert, is mostly recovered from a broken leg that he suffered in January when he was doing maintenance work on the yard with a friend As soon as he was off the crutches he began the arduous preparations for this years display with spreading yards and yards of compost and mulch, followed by spraying to keep away the deer and unwanted insects. This is my own personal park, and each time I walk along the paths, I take photos in the hope that I can replicate the interesting colors and patterns.
For spring and summer I wanted a lacy cover that would drape over a top or dress. Bert's newest garden enclave featured 3 heukera with delicately hued leaves. I chose the last plant for my inspiration because I remembered 3 skeins of Unforgettable (Red Heart) varied sage light green with subtle overtones of tan in places. Unforgettable is a classified as a #4 (Worsted weight) yarn, but it seems to be lighter in places. When I used the J (6.00 mm) hook I was sure to get that lacy effect.
I searched my pattern collection until I found the right lacy shawl. Kaleidoscope is a downloadable pattern from Red Heart (#LM5992) When finished the shawl measures 64 inches wide by 32 inches deep at the center point. As I used the J 6.00mm hook instead of the H 4.0hood noted in the pattern, and my wingspan (width) was 72 inches. The pattern began with several rows of cluster stitches. Next was a 5 row band of open mesh. This pattern repeated itself 3 more times. I only had enough yarn for 2 of the 5 final rows of mesh before adding a foundation row of single crochet before crocheting a border row. I made another change here. The pattern called for single crochet and picot stitch sequence. I found the directions confusing, and did not like the result. Painstakenly, I frogged about a foot of Unforgettable yarn. This is one drawback of this lovely fiber, The threads seem to stick together, making it very difficult to separate and undo. When I was done, I settled on the border shown in the photos below. Starting with a coupe of single crochets, I make one HDC, one DC, and one TC, all in the same stitch. I single crocheted in the next 3stitches and repeated the pattern around
Next week, Bert and I will be attending the 2018 national convention for the American Hosta Association. My lacy green shawl will be just the perfect cover for the air-conditioned halls at this meeting of Hosta Enthusiasts from all over the country.
Today, as I walked along the garden trails that my husband had laid out, I held my breath and marveled at the beauty, the lushness, the shapes, composition, and vibrant colors. I knew that at this moment, a fantastic canvas spread before me, and the garden was at its peak. It was time again to take inspiration from its majesty and creativity. Last season I dedicated two articles to this paradise and featured knitted and crocheted pieces that took their colors or shapes from the hostas, epimediums, and other companion plants.(http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/knitting-and--crocheting-a-view-from-the-garden) (http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/crocheting-and-knitting-with-green-magic) This year I focused on the the colors of the grasses, the heuchera, and the flowering bushes. The striped hooded cardigan for my granddaughter was one result. I have a crocheted shawl as well, but that will be the subject for another article
Since my granddaughter does not particularly like to wear hats in the winter, my son-in-law really appreciated a hooded cardigan I had crocheted for his daughter during this past winter. When I found the printed pamphlet from the Plymouth Yarn Company, Jean nee Worsted 1922 at my local independent yarn shop, The Yarn Barn, I knew that it was the perfect vehicle for the luscious lime and snow worsted from my yarn stash bins. This was a premier yarn (#4) from the Twist house line from Joanne stores. Since it was last year's yarn, I knew I had to knit or crochet with it because there was no more yarn in that exact color in the store. Also, I had to get started before I would not have enough yarn to finish a garment that would fit her. The pattern called for a contrasting rib of a third color, but I wanted to use a beautiful set of flowered pink buttons that would look perfect on the lime green background. My granddaughter is a petite 17 months old now in June., and the 2 year size would probably take her though most of the winter. We dressed her in the sweater for some photos for this article, and as you can see, it is plenty roomy. Instructions for a child 1 to 8 years are included in the pattern.
The cardigan is made in the traditional way with separate back, fronts, set-in sleeves. The hood stitches were picked up from the collar. I had pay attention to my rows as I switched colors every 8 rows to create the broad stripes. Everything went smoothly until I had to make the final ribbing that stretched from the bottom of the right front up to the hood, across the hood, and down the final left side. I counted the stitches I needed to pick up carefully and followed the instructions that called for an inch and a half ribbing to match the sleeves and sweater bottom. However, when all was done and blocked with ends woven in, the ribbing extended too far and was rather waffly. I had done such a careful job of sewing in the ends, and it was impossible to find them to take out the ribbing. Therefore, I had to cut out the ribbing, start all over, and pray that I still had enough yarn for the rib band. The ribbing on the fronts lay flat, but I had to cut down on the ribbing on the hood. By pinching and squeezing the hood rib, I estimated that I had to eliminate about 18 stitches. Also, I knitted only 2 rib rows (instead of 4) before making the button holes. In all I had 5 rows + the pick up line instead of the 9 in the orginal rib. Now, the ribbing lay flat and neatly circled my granddaughter's face. Frogging and making the change was worth the effort.
When you knit or crochet from a pattern, you need to keep a watchful eye. Designers have the best intentions and test their work, but sometimes the directions may not work exactly for you. Before sewing in all of you ends, make sure that you have made the correct decisions and that you can easily undo your mistakes. Also, do not be afraid to make that alternation that in your best judgement will result in a better fitting garment.
As spring turns to summer, I look forward to sitting on the deck to continue my handiwork. I have taken so many pictures. Although the natural world inspires me, it is hard to replicate the exact colors and textures. I am excited at the possibilities, the combinations, the patterns. I am never bored if I have yarn, needles, or hooks in my hands.
I love crocheting, knitting, and blogging, but for the past several weeks family life has taken a hold on my time. Joyfully, we attended my son Jeff's wedding in midMay. You all saw the tulle dress I made for his new stepdaughter. She was so happy and proud. This past weekend we were delighted to present a Connecticut reception for family and friends who could not be accommodated in the intimate NYC celebration. The shopping , organizing, cleaning, and food preparation were monumental tasks, but they were so worth the effort. Our 60 guests had a great time. KC, Jeff's bride, got to feel special all over again as she mingled and met the special people in Jeff's and our lives.
Once we had cleaned up and recuperated from our awesome celebration, I could go back to crocheting, knitting, and lilcreates.com. I began working on two projects, a knitted hooded striped cardigan for my granddaughter and and a crocheted blanket with holes for my Threads of Love Group. The sweater will be the subject of another article. The blanket allowed me to experiment with color and was fun to work on
The yarn for the blanket came from a couple of skeins that a friend of my daughter's who thought I might have a use them. The mustardy green and teal were an unlikely combination, but I thought I would give them a try. Since the yarn would not be sufficient for a baby blanket I purchased a multicolored yarn that included some teal. As with many of my other "blankets with holes" there is not a real pattern, I just changed colors as I went along.
I wanted to reach a 33" x 33" square, but as I continued to add rows, I worried that I would not have enough yarn. I started with a ten row square of the mustardy color, followed by 3 rows of teal, 3 rows of mustard, 3 rows of multicolor, 3 rows of mustard, and 3 rows of teal. At this point there was only enough yarn to crochet 1 row of mustard, 2 rows of multicolored, and 2 rows of teal. I was still short of my 33' diameter, but I thought I had enough teal to single crochet 1 row around. I was playing yarn chicken, but I finished with several yards to spare. I also had just enough to single crochet 1 row of multicolored yarn. I liked the contrast and was pleased with the project. The bold colors make for a gender neutral blanket. I will let the ladies in my group decide.
Did you ever complete a piece of handiwork that makes you shout out loud "This one is for me."
When I completed my last knitted scarf, I knew that it at the top of my fashion accessory list. My Two Direction Scarf was based on a pattern from Classic Elite Yarns, Accent 3. As I continue on my blogging journey, I am forever looking for new ideas and materials. When I leafed through the booklet, I found several designs that fit my fashion profile. There were several scarves and sweater patterns that called to me, but the Two Direction Scarf had the most appeal. The pattern calls for 4 balls (488 yards of #4 worsted) of Liberty Wool to create a scarf 8 inches wide by 72 inches long. However, at approximately $11.00 a ball, I decided to substitute yarn from my stash while I tried out the pattern. If the scarf was to my liking, I would invest in the more expensive version in other colors. For my experiment, I selected a skein of black to white Scarfie yarn by Lion Bran from my bins. I knew that my scarf would be shorter because there was less yardage (312 yards), but I felt that it was worth the gamble. This yarn is a Chunky #5 yarn. that is 80% acrylic and 20% wool. The label stated that there was enough yardage to make a complete scarf out of this soft, tonal yarn.
I have knitted and crocheted other scarves from Scarfie, and have been pleased with the results. As with many yarn collectors, I have acquired yarn that looked interesting even when I have not had a particular pattern in mind when I bought the skein on sale. Black is one of the staple colors in my wardrobe. This scarf would look great with my winter coat or as an accent to a black sweater.
To create my scarf I knitted a 4 inch panel of garter stitch with a #9 needle) that would run the length of the scarf. As I was using a different yarn than the one called for in the pattern, I had to estimate when I was halfway though the skein. I was only able to knit about 56 inches before I would start the ribbed section that would run perpendicular to the garter stitch portion. Since my scarf was shorter, I was able to fit all of the picked up stitches on my 14 inch needle. If I had made the 72 inch scarf, I would need a cable needle that I would use to knit back and forth. I liked the 4x4 rib. As i knitted the rib, I was once again playing "yarn chicken" to see how wide I could make the ribbing before I had to bind off. I probably could have made a scarf one or two inches longer since I had some yarn left when I finished my scarf. For more specific directions, you will need to buy the pattern as it is copyrighted by Classic Elite Yarns.
Now that my first piece is complete, I am tempted to have another go at the same pattern. I can buy the Liberty Wool called for in the pattern. While my scarf lies flat along my chest and torso, the longer scarf can be doubled around my neck as I fit the long ends through the loop. I am also considering making a wider garter stitch panel to partner with the ribbing. This would have a shawl effect that would be great for covering my shoulders on a cool spring evening. The pointed scarf with diagonal lines has possibilities. I guess we will have to wait and see, which piece I make.
My son, Jeff, and his beautiful bride, KC, were wed on Friday, but I still can not get the smile off my face. Family and close friends witnessed their celebration and wishes of love and happiness filled the air. In two weeks we will get to extend the celebration from our home to include even more family and friends.
Now his wonderful family will include his handsome, smart, warm, and generous boys as well as an adorable, blond sprite. At 2 1/2 she looks and talks as a preschooler and she knows and can explain what she wants. When I was scrolling through the various dresses for young girls, I was captivated by the tulle skirt dresses. I knew that I could make them, but I wanted to make sure that I used the colors that my new step-granddaughter would want. In a three-way conversation, she informed KC and me that she would like a blue dress. We took measurements for her chest and from the bodice to the skirt hem, and I was good to go.
Tulle skirt dresses are quite popular right now, and there were many patterns to choose from online. I preferred the cap-sleeve design to the strapped ballerina models. An empire style dress by Kassia fit the bill. (http://www.theviewfrommyhook.net/2014/07/free-pattern-friday-kassia-empire-waist.html) The pattern was made for sizes 2T to 4T. A blue and white tone skein of Candy from the Toybox Collection by Plymouth was just the smooth and light worsted yarn (4) was the perfect color palette and texture. However, when I matched the blue tulle with the bodice yarn, I felt that the colors became muted. Instead, I selected 3 spools (or 75 yards) of 6 inch white tulle for the skirt. The bodice was crocheted with double crocheted stiches using an H (5mm) hook. It was done in one piece with increases to form the sleeves and body. Diagrams show how to lay our the long piece so that the ends meet in the middle before crocheting the extra rows that set off the sleeves and the foundation for the row to attach the skirt. The edging was a repeat pattern of hdc, dc, tr, skip two stitches. I liked the edging so much that I even used it on the neckline.
The tulle skirt makes every girl feel special. As my model is 40 inches tall, we needed 16 inch x 2 to make 32 inch strips. Two of each strip would be cut and folded in half before making a slipknot into the back of the row just above the trim. I decided to place my bunches every other hole to make a full skirt. My spools were 20 yarns instead of 25 yarns, and unfortunately, I had to go back to the store to get more tulle as I was 4 strips short. Luckily, I was able to get the same brand to finish the dress. I hung it on a hanger, and trimmed the ends neatly.
The beautiful treasure was encased in tissue paper and placed in a large mailing box to be mailed to my little princess's new home. The evening of arrival day, I could not wait any longer, and I called my son to find out if the package had arrived and if his daughter to be approved. With a laugh, he informed me that she was already prancing around in the dress. Later that even his fiance called to share a conversation with her daughter. When she told her that Lillian had made her a "Frozen" dress. She sighed and replied. "I'm Elsa."
Still between mom and daughter, I did know if they would use it for the wedding or just for dress-up. Either way, I was happy. I had made the dress for this darling girl to enjoy. On the morning of the wedding, she brought out her dress and informed her parents that she was wearing it to the wedding. Always the individual, she also selected her rubber-like shoes for the day. Later at the wedding dinner, she told my son that this was her "wedding dress." When he asked her if she knew who made it, she answered happily, "yes, your mommy, Lillian." She felt special all day. Many of the guests admired her garment and did not realize that it had been made for her.
The crocheted bodice and tulle skirt took only 4 hours to complete even with the crocheted flower blossom. Now I was on a roll, and decided to try a smaller version for my granddaughter who usually wears 18 month sizes. This time the bodice was a Babycakes by Caron Yarns, and the tulle skirt was pink. Now I needed 24.5 inch lengths for the 12 inch skirt plus knot.The Empire Waist Crochet Tutu Dress by Daisy Girl Crochet could fit babies from 12 months to 24 months by changing the needle size. I made the larger size as I wanted her to be able to wear the dress more than one time. When complete, the dress appeared slightly too big for my petite girl. I still love the dress, but it will wait until she grows. I bought the yarn and tulle to remake it in a smaller size. This dress will be aqua and while. If I finish this dress before the reception in our Connecticut home, she can wear it for that party.
For crocheters who want to make a tulle skirt dress for an older girl, Busting Stitches shares a free pattern "Feeling Free Dress" in sizes 184.108.40.206.
These dresses can be individuallized in many ways. I chose to use a multicolor yarn for the top and a solid bodice. They would also look lovely with a solid bodice and two or three colors of tulle in the skirt. You can accent the dress with a wide ribbon bow or sash or use lengths of tulle to make the bow. The flower crocheted for the dress would also make an attractive headband. These dresses make affordable dresses little girls in a wedding party. It is easy to pick up the colors of the wedding party. Using material like the ones I used for my dresses, the garments cost about $16.00 to make. After the special party they can always be used for dress-up days.
With these easy-to-make tulle skirt dresses, every girl can be a princess.
With Mother's Day just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to gift the women in my life with with cheerful spa tokens to recognize them on this special day. I am lucky to have a daughter, several special friends, 2 sisters-in-law, and a daughter in law to be in my life. Since this year's collection has taken me considerably more time than I anticipated, my mailing date will be probably be tomorrow, and they will arrive sometime next week. However, I am still smiling because each of these wonderful women will get a surprise special treat. Last year I prepared an assortment of spa gifts with cotton and scrubby yarn from Red Heart. I provided links and directions for facial scrub pads, fabulous flip flops, a head band to keep the hair out one's face, more abrasive scrubbers for callouses on the feet, and a small bag for soap. One set was crocheted in aqua and white. Another was prepared in peach and white. For pictures and ideas please refer back to "Mother's Day Crochet" from April, 2017 in the archives. Directions for scrubby pads "Scrubby Art," can also be found in the April, 2017 archives.
This year I am focusing on crocheted scrubby flower as well as spa gifts in purple and white. Past collections have used cotton yarn and Red Heart Scrubby Yarn individually or together. These yarns are ideal for spa gifts, but crocheting can be hard on the fingers. My cotton yarns of choice tend to be Sugar n' Cream by Lily or Premier Home by Premier Yarns.For me,my new addition is the Red Heart Scrubby Sparkle Yarn. This yarn has a unique texture and yields a sparkle effect. It is 100% polyester and comes in 3 oz. 174 yard skeins that are idea for scrubbies and other craft items. Items made with the yarn may be machine washed on delicate, Do not bleach or iron. The yarn feels like eyelashes held together on a cord. Red Heart calls for a #8 knitting needle or an 5.5 or I hook. Most of my pieces were done with a 4.5 (large G) or 5.0 (H) hook.
The Scrubby Sparkle Yarn is gentler to the touch than the original Scrubby Yarn and it is ideal for making flower scrubbies. I follow the general pattern that I use for making my 2 and 3 layer blooms.
Row 1: Make a magic circle and crochet 6 stitches into the center. Pull the yarn to close and join.
Row 2: Make 2 single crochet (SC) into each stitch (12)
Row 3: Chain 3 and skip one stitch. Single crochet into next stitch. Continue around until you have 6 loops that will form the base for your first layer of petals. Chain 1
Row4: to form petal crochet the following stitches in the first loop. SC, CH, 3 DC,CH, SC,CH. Move to next petal and continue as in first petal. When all 6 petals are complete join with slip stitch to bottom of first petal. If you are continuing with the same color pull yarn to the back of the flower SC around the post formed by the first petal. If you are changing colors secure thread, cut and weave in end.
Row 1: With same color chain 4 from the yarn you pulled through from first layer. If you are using a new color, SC around one of the flower posts and chain 4. For either method. Single crochet around next flower post. Continue around as you did in layer one.Join to last loop, SC in that loop, and turn work
Row 2: For first petal, make the following stitches in the first loop: SC, CH, HDC, 4 DC, CH, SC, CH to go into next loop.When all 6 petals are complete join with slip stitch to bottom of first petal. If you are continuing with the same color pull yarn to the back of the flower SC around the post formed by the first petal. If you are changing colors secure thread for row 2 , cut and weave in end.
Row 1: With same color chain 5 from the yarn you pulled through from first layer. If you are using a new color, SC around one of the flower posts and chain 5. For either method. Single crochet around next flower post. Continue around as you did in layer two. Join to last loop, SC in that loop, and turn work.
Row 2: For first petal, make the following stitches in the first loop: SC, CH, HDC, 5 DC, CH, SC, CH to go into next loop.When all 6 petals are complete join with slip stitch to bottom of first petal. Cut and weave in ends.
For this collection I made an open mesh bag for holding soap.
I also made a cup cozy for holding a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea.
The last items for this purple collection were decorated flip flops. I followed the Posy Ruffle Flip Flop Pattern by Lion Brand for covering the straps. I made another set of Scrubby Sparkle flowers to accent the spot just below the toes.
Happy Mother's Day to all of my readers. I hope that these pieces help you to make every day a spa day. What items would you add to a crocheted spa collection? I am open to new ideas.