Springtime at YarnCon

skinny mint rita- 687

It’s spring, which means it must be time for YarnCon, Chicago’s Indie Fiber Fair held April 7 & 8 at Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union Hall.

Above is my Skinny Mint Tunisian Scarf, featuring some of the stitches covered in my Introduction to Tunisian Crochet Lace class. It’s an intermediate class, but if you take the Beginning Tunisian Crochet class you’ll be good to go for the lace class. Both classes are offered on Saturday and Sunday. You can click the link for more details and to sign up online.

This is my 5th year teaching at YarnCon and I always look forward to teaching and then  checking out the Indie dyers, spinners, and all the fiber vendors in the main hall.

I’ll also be teaching a new workshop on Corner-to-Corner or C2C crochet on Saturday.  Take a new direction and approach your projects on the diagonal, a great way to show off those popular cake yarns.

c2c scarf_1724

Shown above, C2C scarf made with one Caron Cake. I can’t wait to try this with one of the beautiful hand dyed cake yarns available at YarnCon.

If you are in the Chicago area check out YarnCon for a fun day of fiber.

 

 

 

 

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A Starflake for the New Year

starflake mandala_1721

Coming off snowflake mania I needed to let myself down gently. I found the pattern for this cool Starflake Mandala on the Loopy Stitch blog. It’s a bit of a cross between snowflake and mandala. I used Patons Grace, a sport weight cotton yarn, and 2.75 mm crochet hook for this. Check my Ravelry project page for colors used and all the technical details.

To tell the truth, I did make a starflake during snowflake season using size 10 crochet thread. Starflakes_1740

As you can see it’s quite a bit smaller, it’s ok but I think it looks nicer in the sportweight yarn. You can see the project details for the thread one here.

These were fun to make and I’d definitely recommend trying the pattern in DK or Sport weight yarn.

 

 

 

 

 

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Snowflake Roundup 2017 continued

snowflake roundup 2018 all_1717

It’s hard to believe it’s spring already and I haven’t finished my snowflake update. Above is a picture of many I made to give away in 2017.

Here’s a Ravelry link to the project pages for each individual snowflake shown. You can find the pattern links there as well as the yarn and hook sizes I used. You need to be a member of Ravelry to view it. You can join Ravelry for free and you’ll get a prompt to join when you click the link above if you’re not a member.

sun doily applique_1739

Ok, it’s on to spring! Here’s cute sun motif. I decided to make it a hanging ornament. The pattern is available free on Caracol blog and is written in English as well as Spanish! I used cotton sport weight yarn for it and it measures about 2.75″ in diameter. You can see more details on my Ravelry project page. It’s a cute and fast project to make. Give it a try if you’re feeling in the mood for some sun.

 

 

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Snowflake Roundup 2017 Feeling Blue

blue flakes 2017_1533

This year winter I mixed it up a bit and went on a little blue spree, making snowflakes to give to friends.

I decided to search online for new patterns, and I really like to work from charts. After seeing one chart on a Russian site I decided to search Russian snowflake patterns. To do this I googled “translate English to Russian”, then entered crochet snowflake into the English box. I cut and pasted the Russian translation, with the Russian characters, and pasted them into a Google search. Then I browsed the results.

rat-felt flake 1

The snowflake above is from rat-felt.ru.  These patterns are only charted. Technical details are on my Ravelry project page

another kluba snowflake blue

Another one from a Russian website klubka.net. The thread for both of these flakes was a thrift store find, Southmaid size 10 crochet cotton. It’s a nice thread, if you stumble upon it I’d recommend grabbing it. My Ravelry project page link.

star 1 snowflake blue_1541

A dear Ravelry friend gave me this thread, DMC cotton lustre and the pattern for this snowflake as a gift. The pattern is from Crochet Snowflakes red a digital book by Petra Tornack-Zimmerman. This is not free but well worth the few dollars spent for 9 snowflakes with charts and written instructions. Details on my Ravelry project page.

snowflake star 5 b_1538

The snowflake above is from Tornack-Zimmerman’s digital book Crochet Snowflakes vol 2 blue. It’s one of my favorites, looks great once blocked. Ravelry project page. I would highly recommend both of these pattern collections.

puff snowflake blue

The flake above is kind of sloppily blocked. The pattern is from a tumbler blog post. I like the pattern a lot, it works up quickly and looks nice in different sized yarns. See my Ravelry project page for dimensions etc.

Louie7028 memorial smaller file

Rest in Peace, Louie “the Lion”. He enjoyed 19 beautiful years with us and will be missed.

 

 

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Solar Eclipse Coaster

solar eclipse coaster_1376

Inspired by the upcoming Solar Eclipse in the U.S. I have designed a solar eclipse coaster pattern.

Happy eclipse watching.

Solar Eclipse Totality Coaster by Kathy Kelly

solar eclipse coaster_1374

Finished size, about 4.25” in diameter
Materials
Yarn: Small amounts of sport or dk weight cotton yarn in black, yellow and orange. I used Patons Grace in Night, Fiesta and Sunkist

2.25 mm (B) crochet hook

US Terminology used throughout
Abbreviations
ch = chain   sc = single crochet  dc = double crochet  hdc = half double crochet
tr = treble crochet  sl st = slip stitch  st = stitch
picot: ch 3, sl st into first ch made

Instructions
This is worked in the round without turning and joined at the end of each round.

Ch 3 at beginning of rounds counts as a stitch.

There is a chart at end of this post.

With Night (black)
Round 1) ch 4, 11 dc into first ch made. Join with sl st to top of ch. 12 sts
Round 2) ch 3, dc in same st, (2 dc in next st) repeat around. Join with sl st to top of ch. 24 sts
Round 3) ch 3, 2 dc in next st, (dc in next st, 2 dc in next st) repeat around. Join with sl st in top of chain. 36 sts
Round 4) ch 3, dc in next st, 2 dc in next st, (dc in each of next 2 sts, 2 dc in next st) repeat around. Join with sl st in top of chain. 48 sts
Round 5) ch 3, dc in same st, dc in each of next 3 sts, (2dc in next st, dc in each of next 3 sts) around. Join with sl st in top of chain. 60 sts  Fasten off black.
Round 6) join Sunkist (yellow) in last st made.
ch 1, sc in same st as join, sc in each of next 3 sts, 2 sc in next st, (sc in each of next 4 sts, 2 sc in next st) repeat around. Join with sl st to first sc. 72 sts Fasten off yellow.
Round 7) join Fiesta (orange) in last st made.
ch 1 working into each st around, *sc, hdc, dc, (2 hdc in one st), hdc, sc, hdc, (dc, picot, dc) into one st, hdc, 4 sc, (hdc, picot, hdc) into one st, dc, hdc, sc, (sc, picot). Repeat from * one time.
**sc, hdc, dc, (tr, picot, tr) into one st, dc, hdc, hdc, sc, sc (dc, picot, dc) into one st, hdc, hdc, sc, hdc, (2 hdc in one st), dc, (sc, picot), sc. Repeat from ** once. Join with sl st into beginning sc. Fasten off. Weave in ends and block if desired.

NOTE: there was an error in the written instructions for round 2, it has been corrected. 9/14/2017

© 2017 Kathy Kelly for personal use only. Please do on copy or distribute but do feel free to link to this blog. Enjoy solar eclipse chart

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Murakami Flower

murakami flower_1339

Last week I was totally flattened by an exhibit of Takashi Murakami’s work at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. The use of pop culture references mixed with traditional Japanese cultural influences gives his work great depth.

I wanted a souvenir to take home, but nothing really compares to the real thing. So I decided to crochet my own Murakami style flower.

To start I used the flower head from Happy Sunflower by J.H. Winter that she posted on her blog. This flower had the right proportions but I needed to alter it a bit to make it like Murakami does. I needed to make 12 petals, instead of 13, requiring me to leave out the last two rounds of the center circle to make it fit.

Winter’s pattern was very helpful, explaining how to neatly form the flower center and attach the petals to the center. The most difficult part was making the crazy mouth that is creepy and happy at the same time. I almost got it right, close enough for jazz.

The back side of the flower:

Murakami flower_1341

If you want to see Murakami’s flowers and some info on his art, here’s a link to Artspace showing pictures of a few of his works including brief descriptions. Please note that anything you see online cannot compare to the REAL THING! If you have a chance to see any of his work on display do check it out.

I feel like I learned a lot about Murakami’s art by making this flower. There is more detail in the design than I expected, the eyes with the white reflections, the oddly shaped mouth, the fusion of happy and creepy.

For technical details see my Ravelry project page.

Nature’s flower:

sunflower_1350

 

 

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Mandala Madness 4, Book reviews

 

Lily mandala_1690

It’s time to review two books of Crochet Mandala patterns. What I love about these books is the beautiful color photos with lots of different ideas for color combinations. I find it easier to gauge color from printed photos than from the internet. Leafing through these pattern collections is an enjoyable way to look for inspiration.

First up is Mandalas to Crochet : 30 Great Patterns by Haafner Linssen, published by St. Martin’s Griffin,  2016. The photo above is the Oriental Lily pattern.

The book has nice photos and the patterns range from beginner friendly to intermediate. Many of the patterns are very simple designs but there are some fancier mandalas too. I find the color choices inspiring. For the Oriental Lily I stuck with mostly the colors used in the book, but added variegated yarn to the mix. You can see my pattern notes on my Ravelry project page.

Mandalas to Crochet has a very nice section in the beginning with illustrations of the crochet stitches, information about standing stitches, and how to make needle joins. There are helpful tips to trouble shoot and fix mandalas that don’t want to lay flat as well as information on blocking.

Each pattern has written instructions in U.S. terminology as well as a chart and full page photo of the finished mandala. There are no stitch counts for the rounds. Projects incorporating mandalas such as a bag, hot pad, and t-shirt yarn rug are also included.

I only worked one pattern from this book and did not find any errors in it. However one omission is that the yarn used is not specified for any of the mandalas. In the beginning of the book on page 7 it states “Mandalas made with a D-3 (3.25 mm) hook are made with light worsted yarn and those made with an E-4 (3.5 mm) hook are made with sport weight yarn.” I think this is a typo and that the smaller D hook should be used with the lighter sport weight yarn.

Overall this is a nice book that would be especially good for advanced beginners and those who appreciate useful technical information.

Next up is Modern Crochet Mandalas: 50+ Colorful Motifs to Crochet published by Interweave, 2016. The patterns are by several designers, Stephanie White, Kerry Bogert, Melinda Miller, and Sandra Eng.

The beautiful pictures really made me want this book. The color choices are wonderful and the mandalas are varied in style. There are some simpler patterns but this collection steers more towards intermediate level patterns. I am especially drawn to the texture of the patterns by Sandra Eng. Below are mandalas I made from the patterns in the Modern Crochet Mandalas book.

mandalas 5_1688

 

Instructions are written in U.S. terminology with charts and full page photos.

The first three patterns I worked from this book all had errors in the written pattern, chart, or both. I wish that the publisher would have taken more time to carefully edit these patterns for errors. I needed to use both the written instructions and the charts on each of the patterns. One of the simpler patterns had no errors.

The designs in this book are interesting, colorful and beautiful. They can also be challenging and offer a chance to use more advanced stitches and techniques. I think this would be of interest to intermediate and advanced crocheters who have enough background to be able to trouble shoot when the instructions get a little rocky.

Both of these books offer lots of inspiration for anyone who wants to explore color by making crochet mandalas. You might find both books useful, they are currently available on Amazon.com. The Chicago Public Library carries them both so you might want to check your local library.

goin green mandala_1684

Mint Chips Mandala pattern by Kerry Bogert from Modern Crochet Mandalas. It’s a quick one to make, more of a motif than mandala but cute anyway. Technical details can be found on my Ravelry project page.

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