Monday, February 26, 2007

Materials for Fish

I have revised the pattern and added the materials to the instructions. For those of you who have already printed it out, the materials are:
  • #40 Coats thread (or other 6 strand thread)
  • Padding thread is several strands of working thread
  • 0.60 crochet hook
  • Kreinik metallic thread
  • 1 - #9 black glass bead

My apologies for leaving them out of the instructions.

Fish Pattern Link

As promised, here is the fish pattern.
The instructions have not been tested.
If you have pattern questions, please ask.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

IC Fish Design Completed

Irish Crochet Fish 2007

I finished the fish design yesterday and have the instructions ready, but my Frontpage software has been deleted and I don't have my pdf software installed on this computer yet...good grief! This is my version of the fish I imitated and added to my blog last week. It is very different from the fish design I have a photocopy of. Certainly more fish-like.

I thought I would put the photo of it up anyway as a sneak preview. I'm happy with the result. It's worked in #40 thread and Kreinik metallic thread. It measures 4.5cm from tip of nose to tip of tail. The pattern does indicate where one could use the padding cord which is used in Irish crochet, but it is an option only and not necessary. This way the pattern is not restricted to Irish crochet lacemakers. I also didn't explain how I added the bead for the eye. That would have to be diagrammed and I don't have the time right now. The eye can be sewed or crocheted it in the work.

I'll post when the pattern is uploaded.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Bracelet Completed: Ocean Treasures

Ocean Treasures

Hurray!! I finished the bracelet tonight. It hasn't been sprayed yet.

The materials used are: discontinued #60 Coats thread for the Irish crochet, #20 Coats thread for the knotting and tatting, delica beads, fresh water pearls, and a paua shell center, and silver coated claw clasp and ring.

My daughter named it Ocean Treasures.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thread Size Correction

Did I say I used a #40 for the center bracelet? Ooops! Make that a #60. I hadn't realized the mistake until I began working on the band...good grief!

Garter Completed!

Yes, I have been a busy bee this morning and I've only just begun! I've been up since 6am working on the bracelet center and hiding ends of the garter. All that remains is the ribbon and then it will be ready to fly to North Carolina!
* * *
This pattern will be made available soon.
* * *
I do plan to make the pattern for the fish available (after a few design changes), so don't forget to peep at my blog ever so often :)
* * *
University classes begin on Monday. Time is running out on my design splurge. I've enjoyed it and hope to continue bit by bit throughout the academic year.

Bracelet Center Completed!

This had turned out just the way I imagined it would...go figure!
I haven't sprayed it yet. That will be after I have tatted the band. I hope to finish the bracelet over the weekend. Too bad it isn't for me :(

I love this color of thread. It has been discontinued. I bought it thread several years ago when a bobbin lacemakerr at our guild passed away and her supplies were sold to members of the guild for charity. I have a little bit left, so I use it sparingly.

I will be adding fresh water pearls to the band. I really am excited about this bracelet. I hope to make one for myself just like it someday...someday.

To be cont...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What to Name it?

I spent some time on the new bracelet design tonight. I drew the center on paper before attempting to crochet it. I still managed to miscount the number of stitches. I will have to crochet it again...argh!! This center will have one more row before it is finished. All in all, I like it.
I still haven't decided if I will tat the band or crochet it. I guess I'll decide when the time comes.
I used a different technique of adding the beads to the filigree part. I like the technique, but I'm not sure if I like this particular effect. Still, the technique is great and the best part is that I don't have to thread the beads before hand.
To be cont...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My First Time Fishing

When my brothers and I were in junior high, father would sometimes pick us up from school to spend 'quality time' together. He had Mondays off and so would take us to the park or where he worked. Being the only girl in the group, I always felt out of place. It was actually father and son time. I was only there because they couldn't leave me out.

One of my fondest memories was an occasion when my father picked us up to go fishing (I think we went to Lake Norman). My brothers had fishing rods and a tackle box. They couldn't wait to catch their first fish. On our way there, we stopped by one of the little shops to buy live worms....yuck!! I wanted to fish but was told: "We only have two fishing rods. Besides, you are a girl. Girls don't fish". I was annoyed. Being 'xy' sure had its ups and downs.

We arrived at one of the small piers, or maybe it's called a dock? I wouldn't know because I was a girl. I watched as my dad twisted the worm around the hook piercing it in one end, then in middle, and lastly in the other end. It was gross, but I still wanted to fish. I just didn't want to touch anything that wriggled. I watched as they threw out their lines and reeled them in, only to find the worm was gone, as was the fish. I spent an hour waiting to see the first catch of the day but it hadn't come. Brian was really frustrated. I was really bored.

I finally asked my dad to please let me give it a try. I was so keen to catch a fish. My brothers objected, "We only have two fishing rods!" Dad finally succumbed to my whining and said that I could fish off the edge of the pier using some fishing line and a hook. I asked him to 'hook' the worm for me. I wasn't going to do that...ew! With a look that would curl your hair he told me, "If you want to fish, you have to hook the worm yourself". It was my turn to succumb and so I did. It smelled horrible and made me queasy, but I did it anyway and then dropped my line over the edge. I waited for about two minutes when I felt something tugging on my line. I first thought my hook was caught on something until dad said, "Mindy, pull it up quick!". I did, and at the other end dangled a small fish. It wasn't fish bowl size either. It was large enough for one person to eat. I was thrilled!! I had caught a fish...and I was a girl.

I noticed my brother's faces change to different shades of red. In part that was caused by anger, but mostly they had become more determined to catch their first fish. On the one had, I felt sorry for them. It wasn't easy to maintain an ego as big as theirs. But on the other hand, I felt proud and yet cautious. Could it have been beginner's luck? Probably.

I dropped my line over the edge again expecting nothing, but two minutes later I had another tug on my line! I pulled it up and sure enough there squirmed another fish the same size as the first one. I gleamed with excitement. My brothers felt rage. Their fishing rods were proving to be useless to them.

I thought I would give it one more try - just to prove girls can fish. In truth though, I was sure I had used all my luck but I dropped the line over the side anyway and what do you know...I felt another tug at my line. I was ecstatic. Victory never felt so good. My brothers felt defeated and quit. I could hear them rambling on about girls and fishing and luck. I knew I had proved my point and decided not to drop the line over a forth time. I didn't think they would be able to handle another catch.

We went home that evening with three fish, two angry boys, an very uncomfortable father and one happy little girl!!

* * *
The fish in the photo is worked in Coats #40 thread and Kreniks gold metallic thread. It is an imitation of a pattern a friend gave me some years ago. The instructions are in a different language (Dutch ?). I simply added a bead for the eye, tried my best to make it similar to the picture, and added gold fins to give it a sparkle.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Working on new bracelet design

I began a new design today. I nearly nailed it. There should be 6 petals...argh!! I've never been good at planning out stitch counts. I had better get my act in gear though because who has time to waste?
The center is a paua shell disc. Paua shells are native to New Zealand and are so beautiful with all their multi-color dimensions. It is surrounded by Clones favorite...and lastly the petals are made using an Irish crochet edging pattern. I used a #40 thread, of course.
I didn't add beads this go around, but I will. Beads are so crucial to the look of jewelry. Of course, often times simpler is better...we shall see!
To be cont...

Blog fixed!

I finally solved the blog problem. I had to 'cache' my computer. I think that was the term used. I basically had to delete my internet files. It took about 10 minutes for them to be deleted!! I'm hoping that may have solved other computer problems I've been having as well.

I've uploaded photos of the 'A Touch of Irish Crochet Lace' book series I self-published in 2003. The photos are on the right hand side of the navigator. Scroll down to the bottom to see. Some books are still available, so if you are interested please contact me. I'm out of stock for book 5. It was the most popular of the series. Everyone loves hearts don't they?

Blogger Frustrations

It was all going so well until yesterday. I've been trying to work on the format of my blog and darn if my computer keeps freezing on me. I simply can't add or delete my page elements...argh!! It's so frustrating. Computer problem, you say? Perhaps!

Look what I found while searching for more projects to upload in my albums. This is the first authentic Irish crochet project I made. Several members, including myself, on one of the lacemakers group decided to have a workshop together via the group. We used the Priscilla 'Irish Crochet: Technique and Projects' publication.

By 'authentic' I mean that the motifs were first worked and then basted onto a design. Then the background was added, and lastly the edging. This was so difficult to me at the time. I thought I would never be able to finish it, but I did! Now, when I compare this doily to the collar, I see I have come a long gratifying!

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Lonely Block

When my son was accepted in the university, I wanted to make him something really special and I thought what better gift is there but a 'handmade' quilt.

I found a simple pattern on the Internet since this would be my first quilt. I knew I wanted to use a Celtic design in the stitching and so bought colors that I thought suit the theme and yet something a guy would appreciate.

I bought the fabric and then, like every other project that is not crocheted or tatted, put it in a drawer. After some time, a member of our guild encouraged me to take the plunge and start the quilt. She gave me a long sheet of art paper and showed me how she quilts. I found her manner to be easy and fun. I went straight home and cut the pieces. I gleefully 'hand sewed' my block and looked at it with pride. I was on my way to making my first quilt. I was excited of the challenge and couldn't wait to get to the stitching. I love Celtic designs!!

Well, that was it. I haven't touched it since. The picture is of the only block I have made. The fabric is again put away. My son will be graduating this year and he still hasn't received his 'handmade' quilt.

I hope I'll be able to finish it someday...maybe for his son? Maybe for his grandson...definitely not!!! I doubt I'll live that long and even if I did, I'll have already become blind from all these years of needle arts.

So my block will probably be forever lonely, longing to be joined and whole again...sniff, sniff.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Two Weeks from Today

University classes begin 2 weeks from today!! I'm looking forward to the 2007 academic year and excited that my daughter will also be attending. There are now three of us, my son, myself, and my daughter!!
I'm going to be taking Shakespeare this year...yikes!! For all you Shakespeare lovers, I'm sorry, but this man intimidates me :( I will, however, walk in that lecture with a postive attitude. I figure my fears are more related to my junior high school English blunders rather than my intelligence. We shall see!
I will also be taking New Zealand history for a first time. I'm looking forward to that. I loathed history in junior high. Well, it wasn't the subject that I disliked. It was that obnoxious teacher (I have a few other choice words I'd rather use, but I'm trying to keep this clean). Excuse me while a blow a little steam...
Mr. Ohler, where ever you STINK!!!! You call yourself a teacher?!! You made every day a miserable learning experience for me. You were an arrogant 'fat head' bully. I wish I had a cell phone to film your teaching techniques in class!! When I get my degree, what I'd like to do is shove it up .......
Okay, I feel a bit better. No, I don't truly harvest bad feelings any more...well, just a little. After seeing the bullying my children have had to watch or experience over the years, I now realize that there are teachers who shouldn't be in this profession. Some simply don't have teaching skills while others take advantage of the power they hold in their classrooms. Still, I've had teachers in my early school years that I adored. Miss Craig...I love you!!! However unfortunately, I didn't have one teacher that inspired me...not one!
My inspiration has come from reading about personalities who value education. I've also seen how other parts of the world have limited educational resources. That made me have a different perspective of the opportunities that I was born into as a Westerner. Last but not least, I've learned that knowledge is power. It can be used in an abusive way, like Mr. Ohler, or in a postive way - to make the world a better place!!

Thread Piddles?

Playing with ideas

I went to bed with several design ideas last night. I made a decision several days ago to start drawing instead of spending extra time piddling with thread. I drew a couple of the ideas in my Design Book. Hey, that's an idea...a Design Book!! To Do List - 'buy a Design Book'. Okay, in truth, I only drew it on a scrap piece of paper but I really will buy a book to draw them in ;)

Are those my thread piddles in the picture? Nope! My thread piddles ends up in the trash. Those are practice pieces. The red is simply trying out bead ideas. It also proves, to me at least, that Irish crochet should not be worked in #20 thread. It is bulky and unsightly. Compare it to the bottom left clover. Now that's pleasing to the eye!! It is worked in #40 thread and doesn't it look dainty and crisp. I know the red design ideas will work great in #40 and make a lovely centerpiece for a bracelet. Hopefully some day soon.

The blue is not crochet, but knotting. I wanted to see what a cork screw effect would look like around a bead. I like it, but I need to work out several problems. I actually wanted to crochet a 'twist', but I know knotting would be quicker. I try the crochet stitches another time.
* * *

Saturday, February 10, 2007

and...That's All She Wrote!

I think this was the Christmas of 68
* * *

After reading about Teri's haircut history on her blog, I drug out one of my favorite childhood pictures of my brothers and myself.

My oldest brother, Doug, is in the foreground. Do you know what the box in front of him is? It's the box top of a Creepy Crawlers set! If you have never heard of Creepy Crawlers, it's basically a 'make your own insect' kit. I think they were made with little hot plates that came with the set. I can still smell the melted rubber that permeated the room when they were making bugs. The set is on the floor next to Brian, the little one with the crew cut. Look at that blonde fuzzy hair! Look at those ears!!
* * *
That's me wearing high heels. Remember those? They have a little flower where the toes are. Do you see anything unusual about me? Look closely...there's something missing. Yep! This is my worse haircut photo. I have no BANGS. They're gone. Gasp!!I wonder what happened to them? Well, leave a certain little blonde headed boy alone in the room with his sister with a pair of scissors and...That's All She Wrote!

Friday, February 9, 2007

Bridal Garter

Bridal Garter

This is my current project. I've nearly finished it. It's funny how sometimes when you see the finished line, you take a annoying!!!

The photo shows the first garter I tatted which I designed in 2004 for my cousin's best friend. I named it 'Two Hearts Joined'. The second photo is a closer look. Do you see the heart rings? I made those using the Josephine knot. I used #30 Coats Mercer thread (great for tatting and crochet). I basted the ribbon in place with French knots of gold metallic thread. I also made a casing with 2 ribbons (the back ribbon is finer than the blue) so that I can simply slide the elastic in the casing, which gave it a nice even effect.

Now that I am tatting this garter for a 2nd time, I think there needs to be adjustments in the stitch count where the beading is. However since the garter is going to be gathered, I wasn't concerned about it this time around. Perhaps it doesn't even need an adjustment. Maybe it's just my 'perfectionist' side (which I'm beginning to view as my enemy now) that's toying with me.

I am tatting this garter for my cousin who is getting married this year. She is the last of the grandchildren to be married. Well, I guess the time has come for the great grandchildren to step up to the 'wedding vows' plate.

I know this garter would be so much prettier with beads, but that would have to be the next time a family member is married.

* * *

This pattern will be available soon!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

First Day of School in New Zealand!!

My youngest daughter, the last of my three children who has yet to finish high school, began the 2007 academic school year today. She was excited and happy to be back amidst books and assignments. Yes, my daughter LOVES school.
* * *
I thought I'd say a little bit about what the New Zealand school year is like. It begins in February...this is February, right? Uh, yyyeah... and ends in December. The school year is comprised of 4 terms. There is a two week break between terms one, two, and three, and a 6 week summer holiday...not enough time for total house destruction, but plenty of time to be reacquainted with the dreaded, whiney, nagging, "I'm bored".
* * *
Okay....back to school. We Americans say 'grade' to indicate levels; here the words 'year' and 'form' are used. 'Years' are used to describe primary school, for example 1st year, 2nd year etc, thru to 5th year. Primary school are years 1-5, intermediate school (junior high school) are forms 1 and 2, and highschool begins with 3rd form. To say that my daughter is a 4th former is to say that she is studying her 9th year of school, or the 9th grade.
* * *
Mandatory subjects are English, math, science, social studies, music, art, and physical education. There are also optional classes which have a wide range of subjects. Home economics is no longer taught in New Zealand. Instead there is a class called 'technology' which include woodworking, cooking, fabric, and I think something to do with metals (can't remember).
* * *
Once a student has reached 6th form, science and math are no longer mandatory, but if a student wants to attend university they would have to give it serious consideration depending on what they want to major in.
* * *
Fifth form is a very important school year in New Zealand. Students sit their first 'major' set of examinations. It is a crucial year. Sixth form in interesting in that students are not legally required to continue school once this form is completed. Students who do not plan to attend university tend to drop out during this form. The senior year is 7th form and ahs the least amount of students. Students in this form sit university entrance exams at the end of the year. My eldest daughter sat her exams and will be attending the University of Auckland this year. We will go together...mother and daughter!
* * *

Monday, February 5, 2007

The Ali Victoria Bracelet

Ali Victoria Braclet 2007
* * *
I always spray my Irish crochet with water once completed; it's still a little damp. When sprayed, Irish crochet 'shrinks and pops' to reveal all its detail. Isn't that neat!
* * *
This design is a combination of Irish crochet (Clones knots), tatting, and finger knotting with beads. Overall, I'm pleased with the design. I would use a darker color for ladies. Darker colors are more striking. Since this is for a 12 year old, I chose pink. I would have preferred to use slightly smaller beads to replace the larger beads in the band, but this was what I had to work with. I'll experiment with different beads another time.

Looking Nice!

I began the band this morning in hopes of finishing the design so I can continue with the, work, work--VBG.
* * *
The photo shows my plan of action. The top of the braclet shows the first side I made. I thought it looked too plain where the large bead was so decided to add more beads. I wish I had a slightly smaller bead for the to replace the large ones in the band. They actually look larger than the center bead even though they are the same size. The extra beads balance the design. It is a noticeable improvement. Now all I have to do is correct the other side and I'll be finshed with the bracelet!!
* * *
I know one thing for sure...I need to work on my knotting tension.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Pretty in Pink!!!

Center Bracelet Version 2
This is the final version of the center of the braclet. I am very pleased with it. The scanner has smashed its beautiful dimensional quality, but it is lovely. I haven't decided if I want to add another. It is about 1" in diameter from bead to bead.
I used both Delica and Czech beads. They match the center bead which is blue glass with a copper edge. The Delica is a copper metalic and the Czech are blue. I did try to work with a blue thread thinking it would look nicer, but I was wrong. I guess I will just have to accept the thread visible through the center. I will get around to making this with brown thread. I know it will look very nice. Since this bracelet will be for a 12 year old, I wanted it to be a soft pink...something girlish.
This little motif can be used as several variations, which I find exciting. It means I can play with the different versions rather than redesign a bracelet.
I will begin to add the band tomorrow. I have a couple of ideas for the band. It will be finger tatted and knotted with beads.
To be cont...

Saturday, February 3, 2007

The Main Attraction II

I definitely like this one better. The design adjustment I had in mind did the trick! The scanner doesn't do this sweetie justice though. The Clones knots gives it a very nice raised effect but scanners are not made to scan two dimensional images, so...ew!! I might have to adjust the stitch count too, but I won't know until I have reworked it with beads. Speaking of beads...
I do like this flat bead but the thread is the wrong color for it. I would need to use a blue thread to match the bead because of that unsightly threaded center! It looks as though I have strung the bead into the center of the motif...and I didn't. This is all crochet. Don't let the threads at each end trick you into believing otherwise.
This is also the first time I am using Czech beads and mercy me...I love these beads!! Delica are, of course, my all time favorite but these are more affordable.
This center is worked in a #40 thread. I tried with #20 but I was petrified with the end result. My eyes have paid for it though. I look like I've been reading non-stop for a week. I am learning to turn away and give my eyes a rest. And speaking of tired eyes...I finally found magnifiers that fit the specifications my eye doctor suggested...victory!! You wouldn't believe how hard is was to find a 1.00!! Everything is from 1.50 to 2.75...jeesh! I found ONE, yes only one, pair of 1.00. I guess it was fate.
Lastly, this bracelet will be called 'Ali Victoria', named after my niece. I am designing this bracelet for her birthday.

The Main Attraction: A Filigree Center?

Two Versions of the Filigree Center

Between preparing for the new school year for three students in the house and tatting a garter, I've actually managed to continue working on the design of the bracelet center.

Filigree is what I'm heading for. The design on the left is basic design. It is very simple....maybe too simple. I did add beads and was very happy with the finished look, however the stitch count was wrong and it curled up on me....argh!! Then my youngest daughter told me that it needs some dimension. Why did I ask??? Naturally I had to explore her idea and so have added Clones knots to the this design along with the beading placement I used with the second design.

Clones knots make this design too crowded but it can be remedied. I have an plan that I hope will do the trick. I'll try to work out the kinks throughout the day. When I have finished it, I'll decide which one works for the main attraction. I have a feeling both will be pretty!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Traditional Irish Rose with a Modern Touch

Irish Rose with Beaded Center

This is my first attempt at adding beads to the center of an Irish rose. It was tedious to say the least, but worth it. I think a little practice will do the trick.

These beads are not added the traditional way. I never have liked the look of beaded crochet. The beads seem to sit on top of the work rather than 'in' the work. I love the way Ramona Lee adds beads to her crochet! Check out her chokers...beautiful!

The center of this rose is made with the 'Triple Loose Ring Technique'. I added beads to both the ring and the working thread. And though they have been added to the working thread, that doesn't mean they are 'crocheted' in the work...they aren't.

The first row of petals are behind the beads. Personally, I prefer the each back petal to fall between 2 front petals. That won't work with this pattern, but the beads to liven up this traditional Irish rose.

Threads for Irish Crochet

One of the many problems thread designers face when they begin a project is the thread size. Most magazines prefer nothing finer than a #20 be used. I was lucky that a couple of my designs were accepted for publication eventhough I used a #40.

The problem with #20 thread and Irish crochet is that the work becomes too unmalleable. Joins are less neat and certainly more noticeable. Also, a motif is not as versatile in larger thread. The beauty of Irish crochet is that it has alot of delicate detail. This is lost when large threads are used. In short, what works with a #40 or #60 and finer will not work with a #20, let alone #10 (Ew!! Shudder at the thought of using #10).

Various Thread Sizes

Irish crochet was originally worked in very fine threads. The image above shows the different sizes of Coats thread. A #10 is mostly used for padding cord (though not a must). I like to crochet with #40 though the finer threads are not too difficult to work with. I have a #80 around the house, but I haven't located it yet. You may not notice to much of a difference in the photo, but you definitely notice the difference when you work with them. The last strand is not Coats, but rather a bobbin lace thread that is #120; however I'm not sure if it would have been used for Irish crochet since there are differences in size depending on the manufacturer.

Vintage Motif

This is a vintage motif worked in a very fine thread. Click on the link to see a close-up image. It is only 2" tall but just look at the detail. The background has Open Clones Knots.Each one is about 2 mm long!!! Click here to watch how I make them.

This image is the same vintage motif and another motif I made of the same pattern. I used a #60 thread and crocheted this motif by eye as I don't have instructions for it. If I had to guess, I'd say the vintage motif is crocheted in a #180 thread (though I won't swear it).