09 January 2017

Heartflake Monday

Frame Full of Love Heartflakes

I enjoy making snowflakes that may be used as mini photo frames, but for years I've wanted to try crocheting right along the edge of a photo to make a snowflake frame.

I'd need a photo I don't mind cutting up, as well as a stencil to assist with shaping. I had Walgreen's print wallet-size sets of photos, with the faces measuring about an inch across in the final prints. Initially I thought I might be able to use my large heart punch to cut the faces, but it is only an inch across at the widest point and wasn't big enough.

Walgreen's prints wallet photos in sets of four, which was pretty handy because I made a mistake on the second photo I cut. I had three back-ups ready and waiting in the wings.


One of the things I learned during this process is the faces need to be fairly centered in the photo. If they are too close to the edge, you might not be able to get a true heart shape. This project would work with round, oval, square or hexagon-shaped photos, too. I focused on hearts for my heartflake set. My heart-shaped photos measure 2 inches and 1.75 inches across. You probably could go a tiny bit bigger or a tiny bit smaller with this pattern and not have to make any adjustments.

I made templates the old-school way, folding a piece of typing paper in half and cutting several hearts in different sizes until I finished two with just the right size and shape.

Before actually cutting the photos, I used the folded typing paper heart opening to fussy cut by positioning it where I wanted to cut, then using a non-smearing pen to gently mark the two points of the heart with tiny, almost invisible marks. I then placed the solid heart shape over the face, lining up the marks, then traced the heart onto the photo. Then I cut the photo along the lines.




I punched 12 evenly spaced holes along the edges of the 2-inch photo hearts with the smallest hole-size punch I own. The punch doesn't have a size designation, but my guess would be approximately 3 mm. I found it easier to mark the holes on the back of the photo with a non-smearing pen or a pencil before actually punching rather than just eyeballing it. (Yes, I found that out the hard way the first time.)


CAUTION! Don't punch the holes too close to the edge, or you may accidentally tear right through the edge while crocheting, and the stitches won't stay in place. Yes, I learned that the hard way, too, but I also came up with an emergency fix so I didn't have to start all over again. I'll describe that process later in this post.

The smaller hearts seemed too small to use the hole punch, so I used a thumbtack to start the holes after marking the position on the back of the photos, then I gently punched the holes to the proper size by pushing the crochet hook through from the front of the photos. I could have used an awl for this step, but it was at home, and I was in the lunchroom at work. I had to temporarily take a poster off the bulletin board to make use of the thumbtack. And yes, I put the poster back in place when I was done.

My first real hurdle would be waterproofing the shaped photos so they could survive the heartflake stiffening process.

I've had a bottle of Mod Podge in my craft supplies ever since I made my first 3D snowflake project. I decided this project might be suitable to pull out that white gloppy stuff again. I'd brought the Mod Podge and a paint brush to work with me.

After punching all the holes, I put the photos on pages from a mail order catalogue so I wouldn't mess up the lunch room while using the Mod Podge. I painted each photo with three layers of Mod Podge, allowing each layer to dry thoroughly before applying the next layer. I also propped up the hearts after the first layer to keep them from sticking to the magazine pages. I'd brought along several cotton swabs for just in case, and they were perfect for keeping the hearts from adhering to the paper. (As well as mopping up messes...)

That evening, I began crocheting flakes around the heart-shaped photos while aboard the commuter train, and the process was pretty easy, except for the two holes that were too close to the edge.


Still aboard the train and not wanting to stop crocheting, I cut a one-inch piece from another ball of thread and used the crochet hook to pull it through the escaped stitch. I then pulled the thread through a neighboring stitch on each side and tied a square knot to hold the runaway stitch until I could get home. I hoped I could push the stitch back in place and add a dab of Elmer's Glue All (because it's permanent) so I wouldn't lose all the progress I'd made.

I finished up the heartflake, then used the Glue All at home to secure the stitch. After the glue dried (the next day), I cut away the thread I'd used to hold the stitch. I'll bet you can't even tell which of the two heartflakes have a dropped stitch! The booboo shows on the back, but no one is going to look at the back of these babies when the front is so stinking cute!

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


Finished Size: 5 to 5.5 inches inches from point to point, depending upon photo size
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 crochet hook, wallet-size photo, paper to cut heart stencil, tiny hole punch or thumbtack or awl, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, Mod Podge or other decoupage-type protection for photo, old magazines or plastic wrap to protect your work surface while using the Mod Podge or decoupage, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, rust-proof stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

Frame Full of Love Heartflake Instructions

Round 1: 1 dc in any hole, * ch 7, 1 dc in next hole; repeat from * around 10 times; ch 2, 1 tr in starting dc to form 12th ch 7 space of Round.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over post of tr directly below, * ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 7 sp, ch 3, 3 dc in next ch 7 sp, ch 3, 3 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last ch 3 and last 3 dc of final repeat; ch 1,1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 tip 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: Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc and ch 3), 1 dc over post of dc directly below, * 1 dtr in next sc, ch 9, 1 sc in 3rd ch from hook (picot made), ch 6, 1 dtr in same sc (open heart shape made), 1 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp, ch 9, 1 dc in 4th ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch (right half of heart picot made), ch 5, 1 dc in 4th ch from hook and in next ch, 1 hdc in top of next dc (third dc of right half of heart picot), 1 sc in bottom of same dc (heart picot made), sl st around top of ch 3 (at bottom of heart picot), ch 2, 1 dc in same ch 3 tip, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 2 dc and ch 3 of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 5; bind off. Weave in ends.

NOTE: If you're having trouble with the heart picot, see the photo tutorial here, although the left half stitches are just a bit different here than in the tutorial. The technique is the same, however.

TIP: After making the first two flakes for today's pattern, I tried using linked dc and linked hdc for the heart picots on the next three flakes, and I think that dramatically improves the heart picots. Moogly has a great linked dc tutorial here.

NOTE: I worked 3/dc shells into the final round of the boy heartflake instead of the V-stitch on either side of the heart picots, just to see how it would look. So feel free to change it up if you like. These heart picots also are worked with the linked dc and linked hdc, and I think they look much better that way.


NOTE: I also made one of the frames completely different to see how it would look with a round of single crochet all the way around the photo. To do this, you need to user a smaller photo (mine was 1.75 inches across at widest point) and make smaller holes than the hole punch makes. You'll need to punch holes in a multiple of 6. In my test flake, I had to put a chain between each single crochet because just single crochet was not enough to get around the heart. I made 19 holes (because I miscounted), then worked three single crochet into the bottom point, and on the next round, skipped every other single crochet except on the bottom point and on the beginning of the curve on each side (which equates back into a multiple of 6), which seemed to work out okay. I didn't write the pattern for this because I'd probably change it up quite a bit the next time I make one like this.


In case you want to make a heartflake frame you can glue a photo to later, here is the pattern:


Finished Size: 4.5 inches from point to point

Chain 48. Taking care not to twist chain, sl st in starting ch to form circle.

Round 1: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc in same ch as sl st, * ch 1, sk next 3 ch, 1 sc in next ch, ch 1, sk next 3 ch, 3 dc in next ch, ch 3, 3 dc in same ch; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last ch 3 and last 3 dc of final repeat; ch 1,1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 tip 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 2: Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc and ch 3), 1 dc over post of dc directly below, * 1 dtr in next sc, ch 9, 1 sc in 3rd ch from hook (picot made), ch 6, 1 dtr in same sc (open heart shape made), 1 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp, ch 9, 1 dc in 4th ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch (right half of heart picot made), ch 5, 1 dc in 4th ch from hook and in next ch, 1 hdc in top of next dc (third dc of right half of heart picot), 1 sc in bottom of same dc (heart picot made), sl st around top of ch 3 (at bottom of heart picot), ch 2, 1 dc in same ch 3 tip, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 2 dc and ch 3 of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 5; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: I had forgotten how much I hate using Mod Podge to stiffen snowflakes until after using it on the first three heartflakes for today's pattern. Mod Podge is GREAT for protecting the photo prior to stiffening with liquid starch or water-soluble glue, but it isn't suitable, in my opinion, for stiffening snowflakes at all. It leaves too much residue, and it took me an hour to clip it all off with scissors because it was too strong to tear off with my fingers without destroying the shape of my flakes.


I recommend putting the Mod Podge away after you've protected the photos and using your regular snowflake stiffening method.

Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin heartflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint heartflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter if desired. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow heartflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel heartflake 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 heartflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Heartflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

4 comments :

  1. That is a neat idea indeed. Good tips on centered and the holes, as many may easily fall into that misstep

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yay for old-school templates! These are adorable. I was wondering how you'd solve the stiffening issue - brilliant! :D

    P.S. What about stabilizing before punching any holes? Would that help?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just makes it harder to punch or press the thumbtack through, Sue. I tried both ways...

      Delete


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