Here’s To My Next Endeavors…

To beginning crafters I might seem to be somewhat advanced, but I want to emphasize the fact that I am still learning. The pieces I have shared with you here are basically the extent of my knowledge. The only other endeavor I tackled was making a headband with a giant bow and sparkly gemstones for my friend Danielle (who is in love with all things flashy with bows)

I also want to point out that I have only showcased a few different styles of stitches:

– Single

– Double

– Slip

My lack of skills, are in part due to time constraints as a full-time student who works part-time, down time is rare. In fact, one day at my internship we were talking about what we would do if we had an entire day to do anything we wanted with an unlimited amount of money in the state ofColorado. I thought for a moment and literally the first thing that popped into my head was crafting. So I said out loud “I would go to all sorts of crafting conventions and classes for crocheting, beading, and painting”. Everyone was kind of surprised. I guess it’s the kind of response that evokes the “seriously, that’s what you would do?” face… but still even now, I don’t know of a different way to answer it with something that would be meaningful to me. Now, if we were allowed to leave the state, and had a time machine, that would be a different story…

I’d go to the past and get beads from all different cultures!

JUST KIDDING. But it could be fun…

So in light of all of this, I want to say that I’m about to have some occasionally free time on my hands. I am graduating on May 12th and making the transition from school and 2 jobs to ONE job and weekends off! I cannot be more ecstatic. I definitely plan on devoting more time to learning crafts.

Through Pinterest and my own internet searches, I have found projects I’m interested in. For example:

Crochet A Scarf With A Flower

Materials

  • Yarn (color of your choice! I used a multi-colored type)
  • Size H crochet hook

Step By Step

[1] Begin by making a slip knot (See this post)

[2] Create a chain of 13 stitches using single crochets.

[3] Hold the chain with your left forefinger and thumb (right if you’re left-handed) then take the crochet hook and skip the first stitch in the chain and go through the loop of the second stitch. This is how you create the second row of stitches.

[4] crochet a second row of 12 stitches and then chain an extra one at the end.

[5] then turn your piece around and continue crocheting single crochets, beginning with the loop of the first single crochet.

[6] Since scarves are mostly all the same width, you will continue step 4 and 5 until you think your scarf is the right length. The scarf pictured is about 72 inches in length.

[7] When your piece is the desired length, you will end it using these steps:

1) Cut yarn about 6 inches from the last stitch

2) Pull excess yarn through the last stitch

3) Pull tight

4) You will then “weave” the excess couple inches of yarn back through the piece to avoid a bulky knot. Some crocheters say to use a tapestry needle, but I find that my crochet hook works just as well. Just keep weaving the yarn in and out of the single crochets up one side of the piece.

5) Cut the extra yarn

[8] (This step is optional) Take your yarn and begin cutting 8 inch sections from it to make the end fringe of your scarf. The scarf pictured above used 26 strands. You can make more or less, it’s up to you.

[9] To attach the fringe, fold the strand in half to make a “loop”. Use your crochet hook to pull the loop the strand makes when folded in half through the very last row of single crochets that make up the scarf. Then pull the two legs of the strand through the loop. How to make Fringe

[10] Follow this video to make your flower. Then attach it in a similar fashion to ending the scarf. Weave the end through the scarf and flower loops on the bottom side of the flower. (See previous post for more flower and attachment instructions)

How To Crochet A Headband With A Flower

Materials

  • 2 different yarn colors (I used white for the band and purple for the flower)
  • 1 button (I chose a brown copper-colored one with 4 holes)
  • Beading thread (any craft store will have this)
  • Size H crochet hook

Step By Step

[1] Begin by making a slip knot (See previous post for instruction) then use single crochets to create a chain of 5 stitches.

[2] Hold the chain with your left forefinger and thumb (right if you’re left-handed) then take the crochet hook and skip the first stitch in the chain and go through the loop of the second. This is how you create the second row of stitches. (The picture is indicating which loop to begin your new row of single stitches)

[3] Do 4 single stitches (one for each stitch in the chain) then crochet another single stitch at the end. Turn your project around so the chain you’re creating is hanging to the left of your hook.

[4] Do 4 single stitches (one for each stitch in the chain) but do not skip the first stitch like in step 2, that is only for the second row.

[5] Then you are going to INCREASE your row by a stitch. You do this by adding a single “slip” stitch to the last chain in the previous row. This will make your piece grow in a triangle shape which will become the part of the headband that covers your ears and is held together by a button. After adding the single stitch into the previous row, add a single crochet to that as a chain. then turn the piece over and continue with single stitches (one for each stitch in the row)

[6] Repeat step 5 (without skipping the first stitch like in step 2) until you have 10 single stitches in a row (Don’t forget to chain the extra single stitch at the end of each so your next row begins smoothly)

[7] Instead of adding a slip stitch at the end of the rows, you are only going to add another single crochet in order to create a new row (like in step 4)

[8] For my headband, I created 50 rows of 10 single stitches before I started the other ear portion. To check the headband size, you can either measure or hold the band you are still crocheting onto your head to see how much you need to crochet before the piece touches the top of your ear.

[9] Once the piece reaches from the middle of the back of your neck, over your ear, over your head, and to the very top of your other ear, we will begin to DECREASE. To do this, You chain the extra single crochet but skip the first chain in the row. Like the picture after step 2.

[10] Continue with your single crochets, one for each stitch in the chain. Then crochet an extra at the end of the row, turn your project around and repeat these steps until your headband has a second ear piece. Stop decreasing/crocheting when your row has 4 single crochets in it. just like the other ear part.

Attaching the button:

[1] Using the beading thread, string the bead onto it. cut off about 10 inches just to be safe.

[2] Begin threading the thread through the bead in any pattern you wish, making knots occasionally so it hold together well.

[3] Place the bead onto one of the portions that covers your ear. I usually do it pretty close to the end on whichever ear portion I don’t mind covering by the other ear portion when we put the button through it.

[4] Using the excess beading thread, pull it through to the other side of the headband. Make a knot.

[5] Pull the ends through a different hole in the headband and make another knot.

[6] You may even put a little craft glue onto the ends after cutting the excess to ensure they will not come apart.

Creating the flower

[1] Please see video in the previous post about crocheting the flower.

[2] I made a few amendments to the instructions the lady in the video gives. They are as follows:

  • Only do 8 double crochets for the petals

[3] Make sure to leave about 10 inches of yarn at the end of the flower so you can attach it to the headband.

Attaching the flower

[1] Place the flower on the headband where you would like it. I usually do it on the left side of my forehead. Using the excess yarn on the end of the flower to secure the flower in place, you are going to pull the excess piece through the headband. Pull tight.

[2] Then weave it back through the headband and use your crochet hook to pull the excess through a stitching on the flower. Then repeat previous step until the flower is fully attached.

Enjoy!

Don’t forget to try a variety of colors!

Grandmotherly Insight

My last post was mostly about my paternal grandmother and I thought it was unfair to not share a little about my maternal grandmother. Perhaps hearing a portion of her story will not only give you more inspiration to create, but also give you a sense of what exactly crafting means to older generations.

     My maternal Grandmother raised five children in the 1970’s. With this many kids and not a lot of extra spending money, she found it necessary to learn how to make things like clothes and costumes. She learned to crochet from her grandmother at a young age and then re-taught herself as an adult so she could also make sweaters, hats, and mittens.

Getting involved in these crafts not only helped with monetary needs, but prompted my mom and aunts to begin to get involved in crafts. My Grandma said they always had teaching materials like books and magazines around the house so they could find instructions on how to make things. She also believed it was important for the kids to watch her and my Grandpa so they learned essential uses for tools and could ask valuable questions.

When asked about the importance of crafts, my Grandma responded with “crafts are important for a sense of self-worth. There is nothing more pleasing than to finish a project and see it being used for what it was made to do. It gives you a good feeling about yourself.” Along these lines, she is known to say creating with your hands benefits the growth of a person’s mind.

My Grandmother’s Influence

I know a lot of you have been wondering when I was going to talk about crochet projects. I figured now is a good time to start since I have shown you how to create a few of my favorite jewelry pieces. I haven’t told you much about my background with crocheting so I think I will begin there.

Both my grandmothers were experienced crafters. I guess it’s hard not to be when you have a large amount of children who all need to be clothed and entertained. Plus, the crafts made great gifts. My paternal grandmother is the one who taught me to crochet when I was transitioning from elementary school to middle school. I remember we were in my grandparent’s house while my dad was running errands on a weekend day. My grandma was sitting in her usual rocking chair in the living room facing the tv with her crocheting stuff spread out in her lap. As I watched her, I was curious about how she did it; when I mentioned wanting to learn and know more about it, she was more than willing to teach. My brother was curious too, so she sat us both down, explained the basics, and gave us each our very own crochet hook (which is the one of the ones I still use today).

This is my grandma:

That summer, my brother and I were both working on crocheting blankets. When our dad would drop us off at our mom’s house early in the mornings on days he had to work, instead of going back to sleep like most children would do at 6am, we would sit in the living room and work on our blankets for hours at a time. Although it took me a while to make that first blanket (and it still had some major flaws), I still loved the craft. However, as school got busier and I grew older, the craft took the back burner to other things in my life. Years passed until I would try again. When my grandmother passed away in 2010, I decided to see if I still remembered how to crochet. To my surprise, the skills needed came back quickly and in no time I was creating scarves and giving them as gifts.

In time, I decided my scarves needed a little more flare so I went online and looked up video tutorials on how to crochet flowers so I could add them to one side of the scarves I made.

Although I tweaked a little bit about how she teaches viewers, here is the video I learned from: (I will explain the changes I made in a later post; we have to cover the basics first)

Before you begin creating flowers, we should probably cover some basic information about crocheting. First, you need a hook (Size H) and some yarn. (See photo below)

To start a piece, you will make a slip knot with your yarn. Make a loop by taking the end of the yarn and crossing it over itself then pull the yarn the extra yarn through your loop like this:

Step 1

Step 2:

There are a few stitches you need to know to complete projects.

1. Single crochet stitch

2. Double crochet stitch
3. Slip stitch

After you create your slip knot, you will make what is called a chain (click for tutorial) with it. A chain looks like this and is made of Single crochet stitches:

When you begin to crochet a piece, this is how to hold the hook and chain:

Stayed tuned for my headband and scarf tutorials!

Antique Key Necklace

Materials:

  • Necklace chains (Sold at Hobby Lobby or Bead stores) (See photo above-left)
    • Small links-necklace in photo used 11 inches
    • Larger links-necklace in photo used 2 1/2 inches
  • Key
  • Assorted beads
  • Pliers
    • Phillips and round nose with built in wire cutter
  • Headpins
  • Small size jump rings (See photo above-right)
  • Lobster clip (See post from Feb.26th)

 

Step by Step

[1] Choose the beads you want to use. Up to 5 for each strand. Using a headpin, string the beads in the order you want them to be strung. (See photo a)

[2] Using the round nose pliers with the built in wire cutter, cut the excess headpin, leaving enough room to form a circle like the one on the opposite end that was already made for you. (See photo b)

[3]  Use the round nose pliers to form a circle by twisting the wire around one of the pliers prongs. (See photo c) Do this for each of the headpins with beads that you make. The necklace pictured used 2 with 1 used for a dangle accent on the key. (See photo d)

[4] Attach jump rings to the ends of each headpin so they can be attached to the chain. Use small ones so they won’t be that noticeable compared to the chain.

[5] Take the larger chain links and use your pliers to detach your desired length. Necklace in photo used 2 1/2 inches. Add a few dangle beads if you desire. Necklace in photo used 2 small headpins and jump rings to attach dangle beads to the chain. (See photo e)

[6] Lay out all the pieces of the necklace as you want them to be attached (See photo f) Then take the small link chain and use your pliers to detach your desired length and lay it out with the rest of the components. Necklace in photo used 11 inches. (See photo g). Add a lobster clip to the chain using jump rings and pliers.

[7] Begin to attach your headpin accent pieces to the chain and each other using jump rings and your pliers. (See photo h and i)

[8] Attach key using jump rings and pliers. If you made a dangle headpin accent for the key, only attach it to one jump ring holding the key. (See photo j)

[9] After attaching all the pieces together and to the chain, you should be all set to wear your piece!

My Jewelry-Making Background

As you may have read in my bio, my interest in beading was sparked by a friend’s birthday party in a bead store when I was younger. I had never seen anything like it. Picture this: every size, color, shape, and type of bead you could ever imagine in one place. Not to mention all the tools I could ever need to craft jewelry.  I fell in love. At the party, we were allowed to pick out our own mini collection of beads in order to begin the creation process of our very own necklace and bracelet.

Later in life, I found I could easily spend fifty dollars on a single bag of unique beads for my collection, in less than fifteen minutes. When I first began creating jewelry, I focused on macramé. This art involves intricately knotting twine, usually made from the fibers of a cannabis plant; however, you can also use thread or string. Occasionally, I would purchase oversized glass beads for the center of a macramé piece.

My appreciation for beading was not only fueled by the birthday outing, but by numerous other stimulus surrounding crafting as well. My mother is a key motivator for my own creative instances and also a source of inspiration. Memories of watching my mother create masterpieces flood my mind. Paintbrushes stroking a canvas, crochet needles moving quickly through a ball of yarn, and tweezers grabbing tiny seed beads from a plastic tube.

I admire my mother for many reasons, her dedication being one of them. She once spent over seventy hours constructing a beaded mask for a contest sponsored by her work. Needless to say, she won. The work of art now hangs proudly on my bedroom wall and will always remains one of my favorite possessions. Watching my mother create such beautiful masterpieces by hand encouraged me to do the same. (Beaded Mask shown below)

Many other members of my family have shown their support for my desire to pursue beadwork. More than a few have even offered to purchase my creations, as well as, advertise them to their friends–in hopes of bringing me business and recognition. Recently, my aunt purchased a woman’s beading collection with me in mind.

I was thrilled to receive a design board, two bead cases, instructional books, and other materials from an experienced beader. It has been uplifting to know that there are so many people behind me in this endeavor, who really appreciate my abilities and have a genuine interest in learning more.

While my creativity did not take root until I was an adolescent, I have always used jewelry as a form of creative expression. Growing up my jewelry choices aimed to give insight into my identity. As I aged, my taste in jewelry advanced.

I traded in my plastic costume jewelry and letter charms for neon jelly bracelets and spiked wrist bands as a teen. Later, I swapped those and choker necklaces for long chains and simple bracelet designs. From then on, I decided I could still express myself and have my jewelry carry more weight through making the pieces myself.

Last summer, I started to experiment with wire work and chains and minimal bead use. My favorite pieces incorporated antique keys that I purchased at multiple antique stores in Colorado. The piece I will showcase next week will use a key from an antique store in Leadville, Co. If you want more info on the particular shop that I went to here is the site:
http://www.leadville.com/walktour/combined.htm