RBG Collar

Thursday, October 01, 2020

I made this collar over a year ago in honor of RBG. Here's the pattern.

Stitch Definitions:
ch = chain
sc = single crochet
dc = double crochet
trc = triple crochet
st = stitch
sl st = slip stitch
ws = wrong side
rs = right side

#10 white crochet cotton
#7 steel crochet hook
1 or 2 1/2" button(s)

Ch 167
Row 1: (ws) Sc in 11th ch from hook (button loop formed) and each ch across row. (157 sc)

Row 2: (rs) Ch 5 (counts as dc plus ch 2), dc in same st, *ch 3, skip next 2 sts, sc in next st, ch 3, skip next 2 sts, (dc, ch 2, dc) in next st (shell made), repeat from * across.

Row 3: Ch 6 (counts as dc plus ch 3), dc in next dc, *ch 4, dc in next dc, ch 3, dc in next dc, repeat from * across.

Row 4: Sl st to center of loop, ch 5 (counts as dc plus ch 2), dc in same space, *ch 5, skip ch 4 loop, shell in center of next loop, repeat from * across.

Row 5: Sl st to center of loop, ch 5 (counts as dc plus ch 2), dc in same space , *ch 3, sc in next loop, ch 3, shell in center of next shell, repeat from * across.

Row 6: Ch 6 (counts as dc plus ch 3), dc in next dc, *ch 6, dc in next dc, ch 3, dc in next dc, repeat from * across.

Row 7: Sl st to center of loop, ch 5 (counts as dc plus ch2) , dc in same space, *ch 3, sc in next loop, ch 3, shell in center of next loop, repeat from * across.

Row 8: Repeat row 6.

Row 9: Repeat row 7.

Row 10: St st into loop, ch 8, sl st in 4 ch from hook for picot, **1 trc in same space, (ch 4, sl st in 4th ch from hook for picot, trc in same space) 3 times, *ch 3, sc in sc of previous row, ch 3, trc in center of next shell, ch 4, sl st in 4th st from hook for picot, repeat from ** across, end by working from ** to *.

Fasten off. Weave in ends.

Soak and block to open up lace.

Sew button(s) to top edge side on right side across from the button loop. Sewing on multiple buttons allows for the collar to lay at different lengths.

Replacing Grandma's Quilt - Starting Over

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Previous: Replacing Grandma's Quilt - What Went Wrong

There is currently a coronovirus pandemic and everyone is social distancing or sheltering in place. I need a major project to keep me busy and occupy my mind. It's time to take grandma's replacement quilt out of the closet and figure out how I'm going to rework it.

I went looking for a new quilt pattern, trying to find one I liked which fit these two requirements:

  • The pieces of the new pattern have the same shape and size as the old quilt.
  • The two colors are more evenly distributed across the pattern (no large areas of the same color.)

I found this variation of the "exploding" square quilt block:

The pattern is a standard 9 patch block. I need to merge some of the patches together (in order to minimize fabric loss because of re-cutting) and then assemble each block a little differently but this pattern will mean minimum cutting of the pieces from the first quilt top. I'm going to embrace this and "make it work."

The top is DONE! I like it so much better than my first attempt. I can't take good pictures from my master bedroom because we have a king size bed in a small room with north and west facing windows (meaning not great light) but I think you'll get the idea with this photo:

Now it's off to Nancy, the fabulous quilter at Stitch After Stitch Machine Quilting. It's going to look even better once she works her magic. It's not a blue ribbon contender as far as quilts go, but it's a more than adequate replacement for my grandmothers quilt.

I do want to name it. Quarantine Quilt? QQ? Any better ideas? Let me know!

Coming next: Replacing Grandma's Quilt - It's done.

Replacing Grandma's Quilt - What Went Wrong

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Previous: Replacing Grandma's Quilt - The Decision

My plan to replace grandma's quilt is to sew a very simple top and then send it to a professional machine quilter. I admire quilted items and I know how to do it, but my sewing interests and projects have typically been garments. I don't have the patience to hand stitch a quilt of any size (much less a king-sized one.) I don't feel compelled to make a quilt the same way grandma did and I am absolutely certain that she would approve of this strategy.

I'm going to gloss over most of the details for this next part because what I saw in my head was NOT what came out. This can happen to me for a variety of reasons and this time it was because I misjudged the scale.

I tried to reproduce this uncomplicated and easy design. Technically it's a chevron pattern, but I see hearts!:

What I did:

UGH. I made the fabric pieces too big and it threw the scale of the pattern off. I hadn't adjusted for the fact that my bed is king size and the one in the picture was probably double size.

I did not like the result and could not talk myself into believing that it would be fine when quilted.

I took all the stitching apart, threw the fabric pieces into a box, hid it the back of the closet and waited to calm down. All of this happened over a year and a half ago.

Coming next: Replacing Grandma's Quilt - Starting Over

Replacing Grandma's Quilt - The Decision

You know that one picture you have in your mind of a person? The one you always think of when you remember them? This is the one for me of my Grandmother Loretta. Here she is enjoying a beautiful Michigan summer day by sitting outside on her deck and quilting. Don't you love the "Harry Potter" glasses? She wore them decades before J.K. Rowling put them on Harry. I have many memories of my grandmother and her quilting is a prominent one.

Grandma made dozens (if not hundreds) of quilts for her family and she HAND QUILTED all of them! To this day, I don't how she did it. She believed quilts provide a function and purpose and she had one insistent directive when giving them - "Use it!" She didn't want her work stored away untouched and unseen. Through the years I received three of her quilts, two bed sized and one crib.

One quilt is in my guest bedroom. It is a double bed size quilt with a maple leaf pattern that is bright and cheery and has a vivid pink binding. The memory of my grandmother is passed on each time we have new guests and I tell the story about her and her quilts.

The crib quilt became a "blankie" for my daughter Laura, who loved wrapping herself in it. Enveloping yourself in one of grandma's quilts is ...... Wow, I can't find any words for that incredibly special feeling!

The biggest quilt is queen size but fits our king bed (pictured here on a smaller bed) and has been covering it for over 30 years. The quilt is literally falling apart and needs to be replaced (you can see some of the damage in the photo). However, the idea of sleeping under a store bought quilt doesn't feel right and I can't do it. I need a quilt that will continue to help me remember grandma and one that follows her quilting tradition. I'm going to have to make it myself!

My plan is to sew a king size quilt to replace my grandmother's quilt. How much of a crafting adventure will this be and what can (or will) go wrong? Follow my journey and find out!

Next: Replacing Grandma's Quilt - What Went Wrong

Coronation Cord and Pinwheel Bedspread - Tracking down Crochet History

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

This past week I struck pay dirt and finally found the answers to two crochet mysteries.

Mystery #1

I was intrigued by the wavy line of work in the middle of this crocheted edging. I had never seen anything like it before and didn't know how it was done. The answer is coronation cord. Coronation cord is a trim used in embroidery, crochet and tatting work and its use peaked during the late 19th century and early 20th century.

The crocheted edging was attached to a linen cloth that was probably originally used as a hand towel. The cloth was stained and worn so I removed the edging and I'm waiting for the right project to come along to reuse it.

I'd like to find the pattern for this piece but I've never seen a crochet trim pattern that called for the use of coronation cord so I'm going to have to try looking in some new places.

Mystery #2

Over 10 years ago I wrote a blog post about Crochet at Colonial Williamsburg and showcased this bedspread. I FINALLY found the pattern!

The name of the pattern is Pinwheel Bedspead No. 423 and it was published in the book Bucilla Hand Crocheted Colonial Bedspreads. The book has a copyright year of 1932 which fits right in with the time that the Rockefellers moved into Basset Hall. You can find this book and hundreds more vintage pattern books at the Antique Pattern Library

My Crafting Pochette

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Whether it's knitting, crocheting, sewing or any other "making" these are the tools I most regularly need and reach for. When I'm crafting in my "mom's chair" they are next to me in a small bag that I can easily pick and carry wherever I want to work.

I didn't know there was a name for it until I read this New York Times article: It Took 800 Hours to Make This Chanel Dress. The word is pochette, a small envelope shaped bag/purse. Designers in the fashion world each have their own pochette to hold their tools. Karl Lagerfeld’s pochette was specific to couture sewing but mine has a few additional items suited for knitting, crocheting, and general crafting.

Here are the items in my pochette:

  1. Black and white thread. When I'm working on a particular project I'll have the color of thread for that item, but for basting and many things that need just a few stitches, black or white thread will suffice.
  2. Seam ripper. I have three seam rippers. One is next to the sewing maching, one is next to the serger and one is next to me. I use my seam rippers a lot.
  3. Pins. Most of the time when I'm sewing I use satin pins, but when I need a quick pin or two I like pins with heads.
  4. Sissors. I use scissors on a lot of different materials (paper, plastic, yarn, thread, fabric) and this little pair has risen to the task of cutting almost everything and has become my favorite.
  5. Crochet hook. Other than actually crocheting with it, I use a crochet hook to pick up dropped knit stitches and any time I need to a hook to grab something. I've found the size B hook to be the best suited for most tasks.
  6. Ruler. I'm always having to measure things and this 6" ruler is my favorite. It's transparent so I can see what's under what I'm measuring. The width of the ruler is 1/2" and the height of the ruler is 1/4", two of the most frequent measurements I use. I've worn the markings off two of these rulers from using it so frequently.
  7. Tape measure. Because lots of stuff I need to measure is more than 6"!
  8. Chibi. I have no clue why it's called a Chibi. It's just a case to store tapestry/yarn needles.

  9. Needle case
  10. This is a crocheted needle holder that also holds extra safety pins and stitch markers. I frequently make this for gifts and the pattern for it can be found here.


Monday, March 11, 2019

I try to pay attention to my carbon footprint and lately I've been working on reducing the amount of trash that goes to the curb each week. Plastic has been a particular problem. My city's single stream curbside recycling program collects the plastic bottles and containers but there are so many other types of plastic that can't be recycled this way.

While I was researching what could be done to reduce or reuse the plastic that isn't allowed in the recycle bin, I came across the Ecobrick. Ecobricks are made from plastic bottles that have been stuffed (and I mean STUFFED) with waste plastic. These "bricks" are then used to build things like benches, tables, and buildings.

I've written before about how certain ideas or projects grab my imagination and won't let go. The Ecobrick is one of those and I had to make one. It took three attempts to get it right.

My waste plastic - it's just too much

Try #1: Single serving water and soda bottles are most commonly used for making Ecobricks, however, I stopped buying those a long time ago, so I started by stuffing plastic into a Costco sized 2.83L juice bottle (bigger is better, right?) but this bottle was too large and difficult to pack.

Try #2: Next I tried a 1.7L juice bottle. I stuffed waste plastic into the bottle, I stuffed more plastic and I stuffed even more plastic but when I was done the bottle did not meet the weight requirements. A properly made Ecobrick will have a minimum density of .33g/ml so my bottle should have weighed at least 584g (651g if I included the weight of the bottle and cap) and it was more than 100g short of that.

Try #3: For this attempt I knew I needed to improve my plastic packing technique. I cut any plastic that wasn't soft and pliable into small pieces. I also used two different kinds of sticks. One stick was a 1/2" wood dowel and worked really well to push plastic down the sides of the bottle. The other stick was the wood handle from a broken toilet plunger (what a way to reduce, reuse, recycle!) and this worked perfect for pushing plastic into the middle of the bottle. Success! The total weight for the bottle was 667g and it is a solid plastic brick.

My packing sticks

Will assembling Ecobricks make a real ecological difference? I don't know but it has certainly opened my eyes for the need to do better about managing the amount of plastic in our lives. I still put all the plastic I'm allowed into my curbside bin and some of the plastic I used in the Ecobrick could be recycled by taking it to a plastic bag and film drop off location but an astonishing amount of plastic can't go to either location and there is also this additional dilemma detailed by the New York Times - Your Recycling Gets Recycled, Right? Maybe, or Maybe Not

What will I build with the Ecobricks? Again, I don't know. For now, I'll keep making Ecobricks and hope a project idea develops. Making Ecobricks can't hurt and in the meantime my hands and upper arms get a regular workout.

Ear Warmer Pattern

Thursday, November 08, 2018

I'm not a hat wearer and I needed something to keep my ears warm during the winter so I designed this headband and it fits the brief perfectly.

Needles - size 10
Yarn - Cascade Yarns 128 Superwash

Stitch Definitions:
K = Knit
P = Purl
Kfb = Knit 1 into front and back of stitch
M1p = Make 1 purlwise
P2tog = Purl 2 stitches together

There are a variety of ways to work the twisted stitch. The video links show the way I worked them in this pattern. Other methods may or may not provide the same look.
Tw2R = Twist 2 Right (link to video)
Tw2L = Twist 2 Left (link to video)


The headband is approximately 4" wide. To make wider versions add multiples of 4 stitches to the cast on and work an extra Tw2R & Tw2L for every multiple added

I like a headband that narrows in the back to prevent it from sliding up my head but if you want one that is sized evenly all the way around then cast on 16 stitches and just work rows 11 and 12 until the headband measures 19" or your desired length.

Cast on 8 stitches.

Increase section:
Row 1: K1, p1 Tw2R, Tw2L, p1, k1 (8 sts)
Row 2: K1, p6, k1
Row 3: Kfb, k1, Tw2R, Tw2L, kfb, k1 (10 sts)
Row 4: K1, p8, k1
Row 5: Kfb, (Tw2L, Tw2R)two times, m1p, k1 (12 sts)
Row 6: K1, p10, k1
Row 7: Kfb, k1, (Tw2L, Tw2R)two times, kfb, k1 (14 sts)
Row 8: K1, p12, k1
Row 9: Kfb, (Tw2R, Tw2L)three times, m1p, k1 (16 sts)
Row 10: K1, p14, k1

Straight section:
Row 11: K1, p1, (Tw2R, Tw2L) three times, p1, k1
Row 12: K1, p14, k1
Repeat last two rows until piece measures 16" or 3" LESS than desired total length.

Decrease section:
Row 1: K1, p2tog, k1, (Tw2L, Tw2R)two times, k1, p2tog, k1 (14 sts)
Row 2: K1, p 12, K1
Row 3: K1, p2tog, (Tw2L, Tw2R)two times, p2tog, k1 (12 sts)
Row 4: K1, p 10, K1
Row 5: K1, p2tog, k1, Tw2R, Tw2L, K1, p2tog, k1 (10 sts)
Row 6: K1, p8, k1
Row 7: K1, p2tog, Tw2R, Tw2L, p2tog, k1 (8 sts)

Bind off and sew ends together.