15 April 2014

Wordless Wednesday

15 April 2014 Full Moon Rising

15 April 2014 Total Lunar Eclipse Montage

Susie Socks

Susie Socks in Spring

I finished these socks three years ago today and asked The Lizard if I should name them Tax Socks or Susie Socks. The Lizard's stomach turned at the sound of the word "tax." Who wants to memorialize an annual deadline that makes people sick to their stomach???

My youngest sister was born on April 15. My mom put my hair in pony tails that morning before she realized the baby was coming. Just a couple of hours later! To this day, that momentous occasion is still the family joke. "Don't let Mom put Deb's hair in pony tails! Someone will come home with a new baby!"

We lost my sister in 1991, and I miss her still. Last year, I created a snowflake in her memory. This year, I finally set out to write the pattern to the socks to post here on my blog her 41st birthday.

These socks were designed to coordinate with my Fall Blaze Hat, Cowlin' Around and Spring Stripes Fingerless Gloves. My initial pair of socks was made with Felici, which, sadly, was discontinued this year. I recently dug out another couple of skeins of Felici in a colorway my sister would have loved for a new pair. She was a purple fiend.

Susie Socks

Susie Socks

Susie Socks

You may do whatever you'd like with socks you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Susie Socks

Finished Size: With Felici fingering: 8.5 inches across bottom of sock from tip of toe to tip of heel, 7.5 inches from bottom of sock to top of cuff; 8-inch circumference around foot, 7-inch circumference around ankle; with Valley Yarns Franklin fingering: 9-inch circumference around foot
Materials: Approximately 400 yards of sock or fingering yarn; optional small amount of contrast color for toe, heel and cuff, if desired; size B crochet hook; size 2 circular or double-pointed needles; optional stitch markers
Gauge: With Felici fingering: 12 dc=2 inches; 9 rows of pattern stitch or ldc=3 inches; 18 stitches in k2/p2 rib=2 inches, with adequate ease; 12 rows of k2/p2 rib=1.5 inches; with Valley Yarns Franklin fingering: 10 dc=2 inches; 10 rows of pattern stitch or ldc=4 inches
IMPORTANT NOTES: These socks are crocheted in the round, toe up, with a crocheted afterthought heel and a knitted rib cuff. I did not and do not plan to write an adjustment for a crocheted rib cuff because I prefer the look, feel and fit of a knitted rib. However, crocheters are welcome to independently adapt the ribbing to meet their own specific needs and preferences. A crocheted ribbing video tutorial is available here.

This pattern is designed to fit a woman or girl with size 6-7 feet, and crocheters are encouraged to try the sock several times during construction to check fit. Making the socks smaller or bigger is easiest to achieve by using a smaller or larger hook and perhaps even a thinner or thicker yarn. For instance, Felici is on the very thin side of fingering. Using a thicker fingering yarn with a size C crochet hook will increase the size of the sock. I started a sock in thicker Valley Yarns using the same size B hook I used with the Felici to compare the size difference, and just that small adaptation is making the sock big enough for size 8-10 feet. I would have to adapt the pattern to make it smaller to fit my feet if I used a thicker yarn!

The pattern may be adapted for larger or smaller feet by swatching, checking gauge and adjusting the number of stitches in the sock, adding or subtracting linked double crochet stitches on the sole of the foot, shorter or longer feet by decreasing or increasing the number of rounds in the foot section, or shorter or longer on the leg by decreasing or increasing the number of rounds in the leg section. To make the leg section thinner or thicker is more challenging due to the stitch count required by the pattern repeat, as each horizontal repeat measures approximately 1 inch.


Felici compared to Valley Yarns Franklin
Felici fingering compared to Valley Yarns Franklin fingering

Felici compared to Valley Yarns Franklin
Felici fingering compared to Valley Yarns Franklin fingering

Check Fit Often
Check Fit Often

Susie Socks Instructions

With contrast color if making sock in 2 colors or in main color if using one color, ch 10.
NOTE: This pattern may be worked with a variety of starting chain techniques. My initial pair was worked with regular chains. The second pair was worked with foundation hdc, which I now like better because it provides more loop support and strength to stitches worked on both sides of the chain. The starting chain also may be worked with foundation sc.

regular chain start
Regular Chain Start

foundation hdc chain start
Foundation hdc Chain Start

Round 1, forming toe tip: 3 sc in 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc in each of next 7 ch, 3 sc in final ch; working on opposite side of ch, 1 sc in each of next 9 ch for a total of 20 sc; do not join on this round or any of the following rounds until instructed to do so. Mark rounds if desired.

Round 2: 1 sc in next sc, 3 sc in next sc, 1 sc in each of next 9 sc, 3 sc in next sc, 1 sc in each of next 9 sc for a total of 24 sc.

Rounds 3-8: Continue working sc in each st around, increasing 2 sc on each end of toe oval on each round for a total of 28, 32, 36, 40, 44 and 48 sc respectively. If working the toe in a contrast color, join the sock color here.
SIZING NOTE: To make the sock larger, continue working in the same manner until you achieve the desired size. Additional stitches will be worked in ldc for the bottom of the sock and will not be added into the lace pattern on the top half of the sock unless a total of 16 st have been added, which will provide enough additional stitches to add a complete pattern repeat and the same number of stitches on the underside of the sock, but this will make the circumference of the sock an additional 3 inches around, for a total of 11 inches. That's a BIG sock. If making the sock larger than these instructions, additional stitches will be evenly divided on each side of the bottom or solid sock bottom.
AESTHETIC NOTE: Because crochet in the round migrates clockwise, I work my increases into the 3rd sc instead of middle sc of each increase group on every 2nd or 3rd round, but this is not necessary, just more aesthetic, in my opinion.

Round 9: 1 sc in each of next 2 sc (you should be at edge of toe oval; adjust as necessary if not); to begin solid sock bottom, ch 2 (does not count as dc on this round or on following rounds until otherwise instructed), insert hook into 1st ch and draw up loop, draw up loop through next sc, [yo and draw through 2 loops on hook] 2 times (linked dc or ldc made and forces the ch 2 to become part of the ldc fabric instead of standing alone), insert hook into middle of dc just made and draw up loop, draw up loop through next sc, [yo and draw through 2 loops on hook] 2 times (ldc made); 1 ldc in each of next 21 sc (or adjusted number of st if making sock larger); for lace sock top, 1 dc in next sc, [ch 1, sk 1 sc, 1 dc in next sc] 12 times, sl st in starting ldc.

A linked double crochet video tutorial is available here.

linked double crochet

linked double crochet

Round 10: [[Ch 2, insert hook into 1st ch and draw up loop, draw up loop through next sc, [yo and draw through 2 loops on hook] 2 times (ldc made)]] (repeat this step on each succeeding round of solid sock bottom rounds throughout and until beginning shaping for afterthought heel); 1 ldc in each of next 22 ldc (or adjusted number of stitches on this round and each succeeding round throughout bottom of sock); continuing with lace pattern,[1 dc in next dc, sk next dc, 3 dc in next dc, ch 2, 3 dc in same dc, sk next dc] 3 times, 1 dc in next dc, sl st in starting ldc.

Round 11: 1 ldc in each of next 23 ldc, [1 dc in next dc, ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 2 sp, ch 3, sk next 3/dc group] 3 times, 1 dc in next dc; sl st in starting ldc.

Round 12: 1 ldc in each of next 23 ldc, [1 dc in next dc, ch 1, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 1, 1 dc in next sc, ch 1, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp] 3 times; sl st in starting dc.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 13: 1 ldc in each of next 23 ldc, [1 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next ch 1 sp] 11 times, 1 dc in next dc; sl st in starting ldc.

Round 14: 1 ldc in each of next 23 ldc, 1 dc in next dc, [ch 1, sk next dc, 1dc in next dc] 12 times; sl st in starting ldc.

Rounds 15-26: Repeat rounds 10-14, ending with Round 12 of lace pattern. To make foot longer, continue working in pattern until sock reaches base of ankle and start of heel pad. Adjust following round according to pattern if making sock longer.

Round 27: Ch 2 (does not count as dc); to form heel opening (which will be left open for now and closed at end of project), ch 22 (may be regular ch, foundation sc or foundation hdc); sk 23 ldc over entire solid foot bottom to lace st pattern on top of foot, 1 dc in 1st dc of lace stitch pattern, [ch 1, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 1, 1 dc in next sc, ch 1, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 1, 1 dc in next dc] 3 times, omitting last dc of final repeat; link final dc of lace pattern to starting ch 2 by drawing loops through ch to form ldc and forcing ch to become part of final dc as shown.

linked double crochet

linked double crochet

Round 28: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc on this round and each succeeding round), 1 dc in each of next 22 ch, [1 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next ch 1 sp] 12 times; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 29: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc and ch 1), * sk next dc, 1 dc in next dc, ch 1; repeat from * around for a total of 24 dc; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 3.

Round 30: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), * sk next dc, 3 dc in next dc, ch 2, 3 dc in same dc, sk next dc, 1 dc in next dc; repeat from * around; omitting last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 31: Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc and ch 3), 1 sc in next ch 2 sp, ch 3, * sk next 3/dc group, 1 dc in next dc, ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3; repeat from * around sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 5.

Round 32: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc and ch 1), * 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 1, 1 dc in next sc, ch 1, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 1, 1 dc in next dc; repeat from * around omitting last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 3.

Round 33: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in next ch 1 sp, * 1 dc in next dc, 1 dc in next ch 1 sp; repeat from * around; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Rounds 34-37: Repeat Rounds 29-32 1 time or repeat Rounds 29-33 until sock is desired leg length. If continuing to make sock significantly longer and calf is much wider than ankle, increases may be necessary to achieve fit. Remember to increase adequately to maintain pattern, which is a multiple of 8 stitches. If working cuff in contrast color, join contrast color prior to sl st.

Round 38: Slide loop onto circular needles, draw up loop through each st around for a total of 48 loops (or a multiple of 4 stitches to maintain ribbing pattern if sock size has been adjusted).

Rounds 39-51: Work k2, p2 around for desired length of cuff; bind off, weave in ends.

Afterthought Heel

Round 1: With crochet hook and contrast color if making sock in 2 colors, 1 sc in 2nd ch (or foundation sc or foundation hdc) of heel opening, opposite of dc in same ch. 1 sc in each dc across to joint between ankle and foot, 1 sc in top of joint dc, 1 sc in middle of joint dc, 1 sc in bottom of joint dc, 1 sc in each ldc across to opposite joint between ankle and foot, 1 sc in top of joint dc, 1 sc in middle of joint dc, 1 sc in bottom of joint dc, 1 sc in next sc; do not join on this or any of the following rounds.
AESTHETIC NOTE: If the number of dc stitches and ldc stitches is not equal, you may decrease just 2 stitches on each joint in the following rounds until both sides of opening contain the same number of stitches; however, this is not required. The opening will be folded in half and whip-stitch closed at the completion of the afterthought heel, so the number of stitches on each side will not matter. I equalize the number of stitches on each side of an afterthought heel for aesthetic purposes. But who closely inspects the very tip of the heel of a sock?!?

Round 2: 1 sc in each sc across to joint between ankle and foot, draw up a loop in each of 3 joint sc stitches, yo and draw through all 4 loops on hook (sc decrease made), 1 sc in each sc across to joint between ankle and foot, 1 sc decrease across next 3 stitches.
NOTE: I draw up the second loop in each sc decrease through the middle of the middle sc of the preceding round to form the diagonal chain shaping, as shown.

diagonal decrease chain
diagonal decrease chain

diagonal decrease chain
diagonal decrease chain

how to diagonal decrease
how to diagonal decrease

Rounds 3-9: 1 sc in each sc across to joint between ankle and foot, 1 sc decrease across next 3 stitches, 1 sc in each sc across to joint between ankle and foot, 1 sc decrease across next 3 stitches.
NOTE: If you have increased the size of the sock, work this same decrease round until you have 8-10 stitches remaining on each side of the opening before binding off.

Finish: Bind off, leaving about a 4-inch tail. Turn sock inside out, fold opening in half and whip stitch across opening with tail, then whip stitch back across, further strengthening the seam. Weave in ends.
NOTE: Do not be tempted to sl st or sc across heel opening. This leaves a ridge that can be very uncomfortable to walk on.

Make another sock just like the one you just finished, and even if you used only one yarn color, there should still be enough yarn left over to make fingerless gloves!

Susie Socks

Susie Sock in Susie Purple

14 April 2014

Snowflake Monday

Garden Snowflake Rocks

Because everything in my garden is once again popping up, I've been busy making more garden rocks. I've been writing each pattern as a snowflake if I like the way a specific rock turns out. Meanwhile, I still get a lot of questions about how to cover a rock with crochet. So I thought I should write another snowflake rock pattern to assist those who are having difficulty.

Garden Snowflake Rocks

The hard thing about following a snowflake rock pattern is you have to find a rock the same size as the one used in the pattern, and that's not always easy. You also have to match the gauge of the pattern writer, which in this case would be me. Thread crochet is different for many people; it is much more difficult, in my opinion, to match someone's stitch gauge in thread crochet than in yarn crochet.

Nevertheless, some people prefer written instructions rather than trying to improvise, so below is the pattern for the entire rock, as well as the snowflake.

In my opinion, the most difficult part of covering a rock with a crocheted snowflake is the final round, closing up the hole on the back of the rock. If the rock is big and/or heavy, all of the rounds encasing the rock are a bit more difficult due to the weight of the rock. In my opinion, the most important thing is to take care not to scrape the hook against the rock. Sometimes it can't be helped; just keep in mind the rock can be stronger than the hook. Scissors cut paper, rock crushes hook...

Brenda's Snowflake
Brenda's Snowflake

Johanna's Snowflake
Johanna's Snowflake

The winners of our Pineapple Sorbet Snowflake embellishing challenge are Brenda and Johanna. Johann selected a greeting card set as her prize, and Brenda has not selected a prize yet. Thank you for participating, and keep up the excellent embellishing work!

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this week's snowflake pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Garden Snowflakes

Finished Size: 1.5 to 2 inches from point to point, depending upon snowflake made
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 8 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line, 2-inch round, flat rock if making Garden 11 Snowflake, 2-inch round, flat rock if making Garden 12 Snowflake, 2.5-inch round, flat rock if making Garden 13 Snowflake

Garden 11 Snowflake

Garden 11 Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in ring, *ch 3, 2 dc in ring; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 sp of Round. Don’t pull magic ring too tight.

Round 2: 2 sc over post of dc just worked, * 2 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 5, 2 sc in same sp; repeat from * around 4 times; 2 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 2, 1 tr in starting sc to form 6th ch 5 sp of Round.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 3: 1 sc around post of tr just worked, 1 hdc in same sp, 1 dc in same sp, 1 tr in same sp, * 1 tr in next ch 5 sp, 1 dc in same sp, 1 hdc in same sp, 1 sc in same sp, ch 5, 1 sc in same sp, 1 hdc in same sp, 1 dc in same sp, 1 tr in same sp; repeat from * around 4 times; 1 tr in next ch 5 sp, 1 dc in same sp, 1 hdc in same sp, 1 sc in same sp, then:

FOR SNOWFLAKE: Ch 5, sl st in starting sc, bind off, weave in ends. You are done.

Garden 11 Snowflake Rock

FOR ROCK: Ch 2, 1 tr in starting sc to form 6th ch 5 sp of Round. Keep on going with the following Rounds.

Round 4: 1 sc around post of tr just worked, * ch 5, 1 sc in gap between next 2 tr, ch 5, 1 sc in next ch 5 sp; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 5, 1 sc in gap between next 2 tr, ch 2, 1 tr in starting sc to form 12th ch 5 sp of Round. Gently squeeze rock into snowflake. 4th Round chains may be tight, and that’s okay. If they are too tight and you can’t get the rock in, unravel the last round and add one ch to each ch 5 sp. Or get a smaller rock. If the snowflake is too loose on the rock, that should be okay, too. It should tighten up in the next Round.

Round 5: 1 sc around post of tr just worked, * ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 5 sp; repeat from * around 10 times; ch 1, 1 dc in starting sc to form 12th ch 3 sp of Round.

Round 6: 1 sc around post of dc just worked; * ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 5 sp; repeat from * around 10 time; ch 1, 1 dc in starting sc to form 12th ch 3 sp of Round.

Round 7: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in each ch 3 sp around; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off. Weave in ends.

Garden 12 Snowflake

Garden 12 Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc); 1 dc in ring, * ch 3, 2 dc in ring; repeat from * 4 times; ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 sp of Round. Don’t pull magic ring too tight.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc); 2 dc over post of dc directly below, *3 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 3 dc in same sp; repeat from * 4 times; 3 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 1 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 sp of Round.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

NOTE: This pattern makes a cute little snowflake if you bind off at the end of Round 3.

Garden 12 Snowflake

Round 3: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 4 dc over post of dc directly below, * 1 sc in gap between next 2 3/dc groups, 9 dc in next ch 3 sp; repeat from * 4 times; 1 sc in gap between next 2 3/dc groups, 4 dc in starting ch 3 sp, sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2, then:

FOR SNOWFLAKE Round 4: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc over post of dc directly below, * ch 5, 1 dc in next sc, ch 5, 2 dc in middle (5th) dc of next 9/dc group, ch 3, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook (picot made), ch 1, 2 dc in same dc; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 2 dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off, weave in ends. You are done.

Garden 12 Snowflake Rock

FOR ROCK Round 4: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc over post of dc directly below, * ch 5, 1 dc in next sc, ch 5, 2 dc in middle (5th) dc of next 9/dc group, ch 5, 2 dc in same dc; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 2 dc of final repeat; ch 2, 1 tr in 2nd ch of starting ch 2. Keep on going with the following Rounds.

Round 5: 1 sc over post of tr directly below, * ch 5, 1 sc in next ch 5 tip; repeat from * around 5 times, gently squeezing rock into snowflake before the opening becomes too small; ch 2, 1 tr in starting sc to form 6th ch 5 sp of Round. 4th Round chains may be tight, and that’s okay. If they are too tight and you can’t get the rock in, unravel the last round and add one ch to each ch 5 sp. Or get a smaller rock. If the snowflake is too loose on the rock, that should be okay, too. It should tighten up in the next Round.

Round 6: 1 sc around post of tr just worked, * ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 5 sp; repeat from * around 5 times; ch 1, 1 dc in starting sc to form 6th ch 3 sp of Round.

Round 7: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in each ch 3 sp around; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off. Weave in ends.

Garden 13 Snowflake

Garden 13 Snowflake Instructions

NOTE: 13 is my lucky number!

Make magic ring.

Round 1: * 2 sc in ring, ch 4, sl st in 4th ch from hook; repeat from * 4 times; 2 sc in ring, sl st in starting sc, ch 1, 1 dc in sl st to form 6th ch 3 loop of round. Don't pull magic circle too tight.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 4 dc in same loop, take loop off hook, insert hook into top of 2nd ch of starting ch 2, put loop back on hook and pull through ch (popcorn st made), * ch 1, 5 dc in next ch 3 loop, take loop off hook, insert hook into top of 1st dc of same 5 dc group, put loop back on hook, pull through top of 1st dc (popcorn st made), ch 5, work another popcorn st in same loop; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 1, work popcorn st in next ch 3 loop, ch 2, 1 tr in top of starting popcorn st to form 6th ch 5 sp of round.

Round 3: Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc and ch 3), 1 dc over post of tr directly below, * 1 dc in next ch 5 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp, ch 5, 1 dc in same sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 4 times; 1 dc in next ch 5 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp, ch 2, 1 tr in 2nd ch of starting ch 5 to form 6th ch 5 sp of round.

Round 4: Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc and ch 3), 1 dc over post of tr directly below, * ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp, 1 dc in next ch 5 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp, ch 5, 1 dc in same sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in next ch 5 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp, and then...

FOR SNOWFLAKE: Ch 5, sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 5; bind off, weave in ends. You are done.

My Lucky Number

FOR ROCK: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 tr in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 5 sp of round. Keep on going with the following Rounds.

Round 5: 1 sc over post of tr directly below, * ch 7, 1 sc in next ch 5 tip; repeat from * around 5 times; ch 3, 1 tr in starting sc to form 6th ch 7 sp of round. Gently insert rock before closing round.

Round 6: 1 sc over post of tr directly below, * ch 5, 1 sc in next ch 7 sp; repeat from * around 5 times; ch 2, 1 tr in starting sc to form 6th ch 5 sp of round.

Round 7: 1 sc over post of tr directly below, * ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 5 sp; repeat from * around 5 times; ch 1, 1 dc in starting sc to form 6th ch 3 sp of round.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 8: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in each of next 5 ch 3 sp; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish For Snowflakes: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

A link to the blocking template I use is located here. That website has some of the most helpful snowflake information I know of. I also have a link to it on my sidebar to the right. I try to keep all the important links there so everyone will be able to find the information they need.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

Garden 13 Snowflake

11 April 2014

Friday Funny

10 April 2014

Lizard Toes

butterfly lizard

After spending nearly all my free time in March quilting, I'm addicted once again. I have no deadlines now, other than the spring quarter of the Ravelry WIP challenge and a long-looming Christmas-turned-birthday-gift quilt. Yet I couldn't pull myself away from fabric, the ironing board, the cutting board and the sewing machine...

First, I finished up two more lizard bandanas. They'd been awaiting hems since before the beginning of March.

It fits!

And then, joy of joys, Pieces of Braid has been juried into the Denver National Quilt Festival!!! It will be on display May 1-4!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pieces of Braid Front

While I was working on a log cabin-style quilt top of luscious green batiks last year, I took frequent breaks to create blocks with scraps that wouldn't fit in the quilt in an effort to prevent boredom. I was trying to use up leftovers from a patchwork dress and a gored skirt I'd fashioned years earlier, and some of the leftovers weren't big enough to go in more than one or two of the log cabin blocks. Yet they were too pretty to discard.

So I used the small pieces. I made a crazy quilt square. I made a simple mariner's compass square. I tried my hand at Ricky Tims' Convergence technique.

Simple Mariner's Compass

lime convergence

Two of my Boredom Breakers were lizard appliqués on plain 12.5-inch squares. I loved the way they turned out, and I envisioned an entire quilt of lizards, if I had enough leftovers when I got done.

paired

I got done last year, and I have enough leftovers!

Last weekend, I finally cut out 46 more 12.5-inch squares. And then...

I cut out 46 more lizards. That's 552 lizard toes!!!

Now I remember why I cut out only two blocks a year ago when playing around with my Welcome to the Jungle leftovers!

46 squares of lizards to sew, 46 squares to sew, take one down, zig zag around, 45 squares of lizards to sew...
46 squares of lizards to sew, 46 squares to sew, take one down, zig zag around, 45 squares of lizards to sew...

mallard toes

twinkle toes

army toes

lilac toes

tropical toes

Nevertheless, this is going to be one awesome quilt when done.

I'm typically a cut-as-you-go quilter, often not having a final plan until I create the final row of blocks or sometimes even the final block. I instinctively knew I would get very discouraged and bored with this project if I had to look forward to cutting out lizards every weekend for the next year or so.

So I braced my poor fingers and my grandmother's embroidery scissors, and I cut. All. Weekend. Long. !!!

My grandmother died in 1979. I can't even begin to tell you how many of my projects those little scissors have seen over the years. I have no idea how long my grandmother used them, but she embroidered a lot, so I suspect these little scissors are far, far older than me.

old tiny scissors

Not too far into cutting Lizard Toes, the little scissors were no longer sharp enough. They likely weren't sharp enough years ago, but I kept using them anyway.

The frustrations of accurately cutting all those little toes with dull scissors began to get to me, so my dear, sweet husband attempted to sharpen the scissors (and even offered to cut out some toes for me!!!). These scissors are so old, the sharpening process loosened the bolt holding them together, and, sadly, they barely work now. I wish I could take that hasty moment back, but perhaps one day I will be able to get that bolt replaced.

I was forced to use my own three- or four-year-old embroidery scissors, which never seemed as good or as perfectly fit to my hands. Soon, they needed sharpening, too. Unfortunately, that didn't help much, but I did finish up the cutting.

After the cutting was all done, I decided to buy a new pair of embroidery scissors. I was shocked at the variety available. And the price range. I was even more shocked I found a pair very similar to my grandmother's!!! So they came home with me. I have tested them, and I'm falling in love. But I won't be cutting any more Lizard Toes for a while. I wasn't even sure I wanted to appliqué lizards any time soon. I never thought I'd tire of lizards!

new tiny scissors

Perhaps if I join Aunt Marti's challenge a little late and appliqué one square per day, I can be ready to piece this quilt in 44 days. I think I could get the 48-block quilt pieced in a weekend once the appliqué work is done... Unless the weather is really good and we opt to ride our bikes instead.

However, I have a 2/3rds-done quilt top that needs to be completely finished (quilted, bound and shipped, too) by mid-May, and that birthday gift-to-be takes priority.

My (working name) Lizard Toes quilt began as a Boredom Breaker. Perhaps it can continue in that role as I try to finish up other WIPs (works in progress). Certainly other projects will serve as Boredom Breakers when it comes to zigzagging all those Lizard Toes!!!

Linking up with Quilt Matters here and Crazy Mom Quilts here.

one a day

fraternal twins



layout is going to be fun

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