Wine glass markers for Claire
Jul 8th, 2009 by Dawn

You know how you can buy those little do-dads to hang from your wine glass at a party so you can tell one from another? These are a crocheted take on that. Each one was crocheted around a hair band so they can be stretched to fit over the bottom of the glass.

Some included beads, like this one.

I suppose they could also be used as hair bands. If no two of your wine glasses match, like mine, then you probably don’t need markers.

Caribbean toilet paper cover
Apr 4th, 2009 by Dawn

After I made Steve the Boston Red Sox toilet paper cover for Christmas he asked for another one for the guest bathroom in a Caribbean theme. This was fun to make because I got to prowl the aisles of AC Moore looking for inspiration. I found some variegated cotton embroidery thread by DMC in beautiful Caribbean colors and various sea shells and findings to complete the theme. You’re supposed to imagine it’s a sunset at the top fading down through trees to the ocean at the bottom. The blue beads along the bottom edge are like the glass balls you see on fishing nets. And why is there a star fish in the middle of the sunset? Because it’s a “star” (ha ha).

Red Sox toilet paper cover
Dec 25th, 2008 by Dawn

When Steve first asked for a toilet paper cover (you know, that covers the spare roll that sits on the back of the toilet?), I didn’t take him very seriously. I did start one, thinking it would be a funny surprise. He had specified a “manly” cover, as though there’s such a thing as a manly way to cover your toilet paper, so I decided to crochet the body out of crochet thread and then cross stitch a Boston Red Sox logo on it. Unfortunately, it turned out that even with such fine crochet it didn’t make for a very fine cross stitch canvas. I couldn’t fit the logo on in sufficient detail for it to look nice. So I forgot about the project.

Then, shortly before Christmas, it came up again. I realized he was really hoping and expecting to get this toilet paper roll cover. So I packed up my crochet materials for my trip to Maryland to visit my family and worked like mad while I was down there. I re-created the body of the cover, getting a little closer to the exactly correct dimensions, and then cast about for a way to decorate it.

Thinking it might be possible to buy a Red Sox appliqué, my mother and I visited a sports store and a craft store on Christmas Eve. The sports store didn’t even have a Red Sox hat (it was Maryland) and the crafts store didn’t have sports logos, but we bought a bunch of letters and stars and what sports motif appliqués we could find and all collaborated on the best layout so that Steve could have a merry Christmas with his toilet paper cover.

I’m happy to say that he really liked it. Here are front and back views.

Now he wants a Caribbean themed one for the guest bathroom. Oh so manly.

Ornament toppers
Dec 28th, 2004 by Dawn

Three more ornament toppers crocheted with thread from a leaflet. I’ve also made the snowman. I think that elf’s a little demented looking.

1903 Grand Ball Gown – done!
Nov 28th, 2004 by Dawn

This was made from the 1903 Grand Ball Gown kit from Paradise Dolls.

(click on the picture for a full sized photo)

The hair was a nightmare, as I knew it would be. In the end I covered up the mess with a lot of feathers.

Here she is from the front. Her best view is really from the side, so that’s how I have her posed on my shelf.

There were supposed to be three bows down her back but I ran out of ribbon. This is the best view of the underskirt which took a lot of effort to make but which doesn’t show all that much.

I’m so thrilled to have this done because I’ve always wanted to make one of these dresses and I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. It’s not perfect but I think it’s beautiful.

Tips for working with beads and sequins

Crocheting with beads and sequins isn’t hard once you got the hang of it. The hardest part about working with beads is that they’ll take any opportunity to escape. You can’t just put your thread down or you’ll come back to find beads all over the floor. Believe me, I learned that lesson a few times. The kit included pre-strung beads which is supposed to make getting them onto your thread easier. It does, but it also allows you to spill hundreds of beads onto the floor at one time when the knot joining the string to your thread comes loose.

Sequins have the opposite problem. They don’t like to be separated. My fingers would go numb from trying to get just one sequin into position for the next stitch. The sequins in the kit came covered in a white powder. It felt nasty, like chalk or resin, and it hid their sparkling beauty. So I washed it off the first set. Mistake. I learned that the white powder was there to help keep the sequins from sticking to each other so tenaciously. Even with the powder, they stick, but without the powder, just try to pry one away from the pack. Fingernails come in handy here.

Another thing that came in handy was a small pair of tile cutters. You can use them to cut off the extra sequin that will inevitably end up part of your work no matter how diligently you tried to separate out just one. Of course, you want to be very careful doing that. Don’t cut the thread.

Some of the beads have abnormally small holes and as you’re moving a string onto your thread, one will catch and refuse to move over the knot. Trying to force it will result in the knot breaking and all the beads running off onto the floor. Untying the knot so you can remove the bad bead will result in your putting down one of the threads without thinking and going to pick it back up again only to realize that all of the beads have run off onto the floor. Use the tile cutters to cut that one bead in half so you can remove it from the string without untying.

Extra tension helps control the beads and sequins as you’re working. After stringing on about a mile of beads (a few inches of sequins goes a long way), push most of them way down the thread. Keep a working number of beads or sequins between your work and the hand that guides the thread. To move the next bead or sequin into place, you’ll need tension from something besides your hand. I would run the thread under my foot or between my knee and the sofa arm.

Working with beads and sequins will feel awkward and slow at first. The first row was only 36 stitches and I think it took me an hour. I didn’t think it would be possible to finish this project in my lifetime. By the end of the skirt, the rows were almost 200 stitches long and I was doing them in less time than that first row. So just keep working on it, and remember: Watch those beads!

1903 Grand Ball Gown – second update
Nov 23rd, 2004 by Dawn

Here’s Lady Paradise modelling the underskirt. I’m not sure it ended up exactly the right shape. It’s made out of a million strips of ribbon. Kind of crazy. I think a pattern and some fabric might have been a better way to go. Their sewing instructions aren’t that clear and I ran out of ribbon before I got all the bows made. I don’t think I wasted any either but I came up about 20″ short which is a lot of ribbon.

This is my hand modelling the skirt after the beaded loops were sewn on. You’d be amazed at how long this step took. I thought it would be about an hour but it was probably more like four or five. Plus the loops are all tangled together. Once I’ve got the doll fully dressed and on the stand, I’m going to have a lot of sequins to flip and loops to arrange.

Nearly done. You see the bow on her shoulder? Well, there isn’t one on the other shoulder yet. There are also bows that go on the back and more beaded loops for the bodice and sleeves. Then there’s the hair to worry about. I guess I can’t just keep the scrunchy on. It’s starting to seem like crocheting the dress was the easy part.

1903 Grand Ball Gown – in progress
Nov 9th, 2004 by Dawn

1903 Grand Ball Gown from Paradise Dolls.

I got this kit and immediately created a disaster by turning the skein of purple rayon thread into a hopelessly tangled mass which I then attacked with a pair of scissors in a temper fit, resulting in little pieces of purple rayon thread all over the living room floor.

When I regained my composure, I went down to AC Moore to see if I could find a matching crochet thread, since I didn’t want to throw out my $75 kit before I’d even started it. I found Opera Lavendar. It was nowhere near the same color but it was complementary.

After that inauspicious start, things progressed pretty well. Here’s a photo of the skirt after I’d finished crocheting it:

In this photo, Lady Paradise is having her first fitting. No, she’s not wearing a blindfold because she’s into kinky bondage. I have her head wrapped up in scrunchies because her hair gets in the way.

Now I have to do a lot of sewing to finish up. There’s an underskirt plus sleeves and bows and loops of beads that need to be sewn on and together and then the doll gets sewn into the dress. The dress is coming out a little tight on her so I may need some kind of gusset up the back as well.

Cornflower bookmark
Oct 15th, 2004 by Dawn

Made from Angela’s Cornflower Bookmark pattern for my October 6 x 6 square exchange partner and as practice for thread crochet. Working up to the big thread crochet project! This is the second of these I made but I didn’t take a picture of the last one, plus I starched this one which I think helped it quite a bit.

Snowman ornament topper
Sep 15th, 2004 by Dawn

This was my first attempt from Ornament Toppers. It came out OK except the embroidered face is a little crooked. I’m bad with anything freehand. You have to imagine that it’s on top of an ornament because I was mailing this to someone and it was easier to mail without the ornament (which gets glued on). The pattern called for a lot of the pieces to be glued on but I mostly sewed them. I think it will hold up better.

Filet crochet shawl
Sep 2nd, 2004 by Dawn

My mother sent me the link to this shawl from Woman’s Day Magazine. Since she’s never asked me to make her anything before, I hopped right on it. The first challenge was finding the materials. No one sells J. & P. Coats LusterSheen locally, but I was finding something from Red Heart also called LusterSheen which surprisingly had the exact same color names. Since this seemed like a trademark violation I checked with r.c.t.y and got confirmation that they were the same thing (possibly Red Heart bought out J & P Coats?).

Having found the materials I needed, I started crocheting. The next trouble was that my gauge was off quite a bit. My squares were coming out rectangular. It didn’t matter if I went up or down a hook, I just ended up with larger or smaller rectangles. So I ended up modifying the pattern to use HDC instead of DC which made my squares square. I was afraid it might make the shawl too short, but it came out exactly the length Woman’s Day said it should. After all of the prep work, crocheting the shawl was a breeze.

Here’s a close up of the filet work. I’d never done filet crochet before but that turned out to be the easy part. I’ve done plenty of counted cross stitch and it’s pretty similar – just count the squares and fill in the ones that are filled in on the pattern. I think this photo is a more accurate representation of the color.

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