Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The 2012 Ornament Project ~ May

The Cinnamon Log Tote

•Two colors of yarn, same weight, will be referred to as Yarn A and Yarn B.  In sample piece the brown is Yarn A and the ecru is Yarn B.
•Crochet hook that is an appropriate size for chosen yarn.  Sample made with size H hook and worsted weight handspun 
•large eye needle for sewing in loose ends
•3 cinnamon sticks approximately 3.5” long

If you need a stitch guide or help with the abbreviations, Crochet 'N' More is a great resource for all of the basics.

Finished piece measures 2.75” wide and 2.25” long folded in half or 4.5” laid flat.  These measurements do not include the handles. 

With Yarn A, Ch 18
Row 1:  sc in second chain from hook, *skip next 3 chains, work 4 dc, ch 1, 4 dc in next st, skip next 3 chains, sc in next st* twice, (see image 1, arrows indicate upcoming stitch placement) working along the opposite side of the beginning chain, skip first 4 chains, work 4 dc, ch 1, 4 dc in next st, skip next 3 chains, sc in next st, skip next 3 chains, work 4 dc, ch 1, 4 dc in next st, skip next 3 chains, sl st in first sc, finish off (image 2)


Row 2:  with Yarn B
We are going to work a 4bpdc dec (back post double crochet decrease) over the first four dc just left of the 1st sc of Row 1.  Here’s how:  Join Yarn B to hook with a standard slip knot, yarn over, insert hook around first dc from back to front (image 3), yo pull up a loop, yo pull through two loops, *insert hook around next dc from back to front, yo pull up a loop, yo pull through two loops* 3 times (image 4), yo pull through all five loops on hook (4bpdc dec complete, image 5), ch 4, sc in next ch 1 space, ch 4, 8bpdc dec, ch 4, sc in next ch 1 space, *ch 4, 4bpdc dec, ch 4, sc in next ch 1 space* twice,
ch 4, 8bpdc dec, ch 4, sc in next ch 1 space, ch 4, 4bpdc dec, ch 4, sc in next ch 1 space, ch 4, sl st to top of beg 4bpdc dec (image 6)

Row 3:  ch 1, work 3sc into same st as joining, 2 sc in next ch 4sp, 2 sc in next sc, 2 sc in next ch 4 space, 2 sc in top of 8bpdc dec, 2 sc in next ch 4 space, 2 sc in next sc, 2 sc in next ch 4 space, 3 sc in top of 4bpdc dec, continue around in this way being sure to work 3 sc in each corner (image 7), join with sl st to to first sc, do not finish off

sl st into next sc, ch 20, join with sl st in the adjacent corner, finish off.  Make handle for the opposite side by joining with a slip st in one  corner, ch 20, join with sl st in the adjacent corner, finish off (image 8)  weave in all loose ends.

Now the Cinnamon Log Tote is ready to be folded in half and filled with cinnamon sticks.  Just hang it on your tree and enjoy the spicy bouquet!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The 2012 Ornament Project ~ May Preview

I guess the first thing I should say is that I realize it is no longer the month of May.  In fact, June is well on its way, but my goal was one ornament pattern a month, and so late or not, I'm going for it.  Hopefully, I'll be able to come up with one more design idea for this month and then I'll be back on track.  

I was in a little creative slump, so I just started to think about my favorite tree decorations.  One of my favorite years, was the first time I bought my very own tree for the holidays.  I was living in a basement apartment across the street from an antique shop.  They started selling Christmas trees and so I bought one.  

It was all I could do to haul my tree down my basement steps leaving a reckless trail of pine needles.  When I finally managed it, I realized that I had neither a stand nor any ornaments to my name.  For a few minutes I stood with what I am sure was a "now what do I do" expression on my face when I came up with an idea.  I had a big basket that I used for something (I can't remember what), so I dumped out the contents and in I plopped my tree .  It looked like a giant version of those cone shaped rosemary plants they sell around the holidays.  I was thrilled both by the fact that the basket was actually managing to hold my tree upright, and how whimsical it looked.  Perfect!

The next step was to figure out some way to decorate my first tree.  I started rummaging around and found a collection of little silk roses on wires.  I've been buying spices in bulk for a long time, so I happened to have a bag of cinnamon sticks on hand as well.  I used the roses to attach the cinnamon to my tree.  It was pretty and the fragrant blend of evergreen and cinnamon was wonderful.  I topped the tree off with ribbon tied into a bow and that was that.  

I always get sentimental when I think about my cinnamon adorned tree.  It was simple and sweet and now it's the inspiration for my next ornament design.  For the month of May, the ornament is...
The Cinnamon Log Tote

I hope you like it.  I've been wanting to make a two toned ornament, so this fulfills that wish as well.  Of course you can make your ornament out of any yarn or any colors, but I have been using only handspun ecru.  To add just a little color, I spun up some baby camel top.  The camel and merino look very pretty and earthy together.  

This ends my very verbose preview.  I haven't blogged in a while, so I guess I'm feeling chatty.  I'll be back in just a day or two with the free pattern.  Once I've finished a design, it doesn't take long for me to write it up.  See you soon!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Felted Fountain

I guess you know you've been MIA for too long when your own blog wants you to sign in.  Between the end of the school year and an extreme case of spring fever, I feel like I've been in a constant state of distraction.  I have a feeling that May does this to a lot of people and I am in good company.  

In an effort to regain focus, I've decided to use a couple days of my summer holiday to revamp my studio.  This seems to be an annual event for me.  I think my subconscious is stuck on the notion that with a little reorg, there is more space to be had in my one room studio.  My conscious however, knows that the only way to achieve space is to do some painful purging. 

The closet seemed like the place to start.  After pulling out a couple of big items, a six foot easel and a standing floor loom, I uncovered my felted fountain.  I went through a period of making felted structures.  I was obsessed with seeing how big a sculpture I could make, out of just wool yarn, that would maintain it's integrity without the assistance of any stiffeners or wire or anything else.  To be accurate, I should say fulled structures since I was working from crocheted fabric.  Everything was free-form, design on the fly, so I was always investing time without any guarantees of success.  This fountain was one of my faves and I have to say that it's in pretty good shape despite being unceremoniously stuffed in a closet.  

For anyone who's curious, the fountain stands 14 inches high with a base that's 15.5 inches in diameter.  The center part is about 5 inches in diameter.  Fountains became a theme because I found that I could make larger sculptures by bringing the shape up through the center.  It lended balance and support to the overall piece.  I also carried a running strand of yarn as I crocheted to add more stability and another dimension of color.  I had a good time with these projects because of the element of risk and the fulling process was creatively satisfying.  At times I felt more like a sculptor than a fiber artist.

My kids have a nautical themed bath, so what could be a more natural addition than a felted fountain filled with shells? Every loo has one of these, right?  Mainly, I just couldn't stuff in back into the closet or some random box.  I think my subconscious may be in the lead at this point.  I have a whole box of Hefty bags sitting on the floor of my studio with the plan to give away as much as I can.  So far, I haven't opened it.  It's an internal battle of wills and I hope my practical side wins.