Monday, 21 March 2011

Irish Crochet

One time I was browsing my favorite blogs, I saw a link to some Irish crochet works. They were so beautiful, I just had to try. I started roaming the net for patterns and yarn. It was actually quit difficult. I found some patterns, but they were all named Irish crochet. So when they arrived, I ended up buying two of the pattern in three different formats. One electronically (see here for a link), one as separate booklets (I do not remember where I found them), and one book including both booklets (see here for a link).

These two booklets were, however, absolutely beautiful, and the patterns was in a league of their own compared to the other patterns I bought (all pictures are based on patterns in the first booklet). This is a good book both for beginners and more advanced crocheters. The instructions are relatively easy to follow and the pictures are informative and beautiful. However, be aware that the notation is somewhat unusual. For instance, in the patterns a single crochet is called a double crochet, and a double crochet is called a treble crochet, and so on. Thus, it is good advice to read the pages describing the stitches before beginning, even for more advanced crocheters.

I also had difficulties finding fine enough yarn. The pattern called for yarn size 100 (which is as thin as sewing tread), but the finest yarn I could find in my local shop was a size 10. I tried to find fine enough yarn on the internet, but yarn size 40 and onwards had to be ordered specially. They only had size 30 and thicker in stock, and size 30 came only in white. The thinnest yarn available in colors was size 20. (A good net shop for purchasing fine crochet yarns is Royal Yarns.)
Since I had trouble finding such thin yarn in colors, I decided to practice using yarn size 10, and then try to crochet using my cotton quilting thread. The white flowers are crocheted using yarn size 10, and the colored flowers are crochet using quilting thread and a 0.6 mm needle. The difference in size between using yarn size 10 and quilting tread can be seen from the picture to the right, where the orange flower is crocheted using Yli Yli quilting tread.

I will use the motifs crocheted using quilting tread to decorate a folder to store my crochet needles in. The white motifs will be used to decorate a bag for my ongoing crochet projects. They are not finished yet. To make a complete Irish crochet, the motifs need to be joined together with a mesh of loops, into the desired shape. For illustrations of this joining of motifs, see here and here. If this is a success, I will make a Irish crochet dress for my daughter.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

The crown prince shawl

This shawl was given to crown prince Gustav-Adolf of Sweden when he visited Estonia in 1936. The pattern is a copy of a picture of the shawl, designed and knitted by Mrs. Valdeman. This is a lovely shawl, with a simple but beautiful checker pattern in the middle, and some large stars along the inner border. I found the pattern in Nancy Bushe’s book "Knitted Laces of Estonia", which I absolutely love.

The shawl is knitted in a fine merino wool yarn, called "Fine Merino", which I found in an American web shop called "Purl Soho".

The shawl is 95x95 cm and weighs 42 g. In retrospect, I think the shawl would have looked nicer if I had used a thicker yarn. Both because it would have been larger, fallen more heavily, and the nubs would had looked better. These ultra thin yarns is best suited for patterns without nubs.

The shawl has been finished almost a year now. It has been lying on my corner table, waiting for me to block it out. When I finally decided to do the blocking, I got a shock. There had been a little mouse gnawing two holes in my shawl. Luckily, I was able to mend the holes, so that they do not run. If you look closely, it is possible to spot the mending, but my hope is that if I do not tell anyone, they will not notice.

Peter Rabbit

Finally, I have finished Peter Rabbit. I started on him more than one year ago, but he as been laying half-finished for a while now. But, as my bunad project is almost finished, I took the opportunity to complete various projects, including Peter.

He is my absolute favourite in the book "Le Monde de Beatrix Potter". This book is filled by fantastic cross stitch embroideries of Beatrix Potter’s pictures. I have made several mice already, among them a tailor mouse and many small kitchen mice, who I embroidered for a valance in the kitchen window at our cabin.

I do not know what I want to make of Peter yet. He will probably decorate a quilted bag of some sort.


Meet Mini-Mona. She loves to be surrounded by nature. In particular, she enjoy nature in a sun lounger on the terrace, in the garden. There she is enjoying the spring sun, preferably with a glass of red wine and with a good book. She really knows how to enjoy herself.

She is to be given to Mona, a colleague of mine, who turns 50 in April. Mona is the initiator of most social events at my work, with a very nice and cheerful personality. They have much in common, and I believe they will enjoy each others company. Mona also enjoys sunshine, and now she can do this in the company of Mini-Mona.

Mini-Mona is a midification of Beth Webber’s doll, Mini Free Spirit. If you have not visited her blog yet, By hock by hand, you should. She makes some incredibly sweet crocheted dolls, and she shares all her patterns free on her blog, including patterns for cloths and pets.

Mini-Monas hair is made of a thin alpaca yarn from Du store Alpakka, which is called Tynn Alpakka. Her terrace is made of a local Norwegian yarn called Østlandsgarn. The grass is made by a flossy yarn named On Line Linie 9 Multidream, and the cloths and flowers are made by various leftovers from old projects, which I do not know the name of.

I found the patterns for the flowers and the butterfly in two wonderful books. The butterfly and the small flowers in the grass is found in the book "100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet" and the big blue flower is from the book "Chrochet Bouquet".

I tried to make Mini-Mona resemble the original (see picture to the right). The thought is that birds of a feather flock together.

A birthday card in cross stitches

Last year, I made a little amigurami as a birthday card for each of the girls in my daughters class (see here for the link to last years birthday cards). This year, I wanted to sew something for them. So I looked through my cross stitch recipes, and found a book with some small fairies forming letters (see here for a link to the book). I decided to make a small pin cushion with the initial capital for each of the girls.


I have embroidered all of the letters, and made most of the pin cushions (see various pictures). The A stands for Ane, B for Bethine, E for Elida, Emilie and Elise, H for Hanne, I I for Ingrid Irene, M for Mia, S for Synne and T for Thelma. Two of the cushions are already given away, and the last one is given away in December.



I hope the girls like the cushions, and maybe I have inspired them to make some things themselves.