spring woods

mother river antler basket detail

mother river antler basket

coming soon... weaving antler baskets


mary prepping antler sheds

the basket studio

jen + mary

jen pulling reed

at home in february

day 17 :: last FO used

day 16 :: texture

day 13 :: inspiration indoors

day 15 :: a new skill

day five :: notions

day five :: notions

I thought that I’d slip this photo in here. It’s from day five of A Month of Craft Photos and the prompt was “notions”. The buttons, jar, and doily all fall into the category of “something old“.

[I am logging my family heirlooms and thrifted finds. All items will be considered vintage by the 20-year standard.  You can find all of the entries under the category ‘something old‘.]


experiments in crocheted ric rac

multicolor crocheted ric rac

Quite some time back I discovered a ric rac pattern on Ravelry and, last week, I decided to try it out on some varied fibers. I started with leftover pastels (DK yarn, F hook) from the rainbow granny stitch afghan and, simultaneously, I began another roll from a cheap 3-ply (C hook) that I bought solely because of its color when I saw it on vacation last summer. (Of note: The pattern was created by Kate Ulman and can be found on her blog.)

Since it would be difficult to trim the ric rac for edging purposes, it’s best off to know what size you need ahead of time. I hadn’t really planned to use it as a notion, opting instead to maybe hang them like banners or garlands, so I am crocheting very long rolls of it.

The multicolor pastel is 16+yards and the baby blue is 76 inches.

baby blue crocheted ric rac

recent crochet work

slowly, mister winter

I am hard at work on Mister Winter and I suspect that I shall be for a good many months to come. I sew in ends as I go but, I swear, it seems as though that takes as much time as the actual crochet work when doing a granny square sort of afghan. Since I won’t see real results on that until I have enough rounds (400? 460? 550? 594?) to start crocheting it together, I am going to attempt to get my finished-project fix by working on smaller things at the same time.

At the beginning of autumn, I bought some bulky yarn in gray with the intention of making something soft and warm for myself. I considered doing yet another cowl, and then it occurred to me that I’ve never made a shawl. I am certain that it’s just the thing that I need for chilly winter mornings. (I’m wearing it now!) I used this sweet, simple pattern called Morning Has Broken. My version is Ashen Mornings.

ashen mornings shawl

I would love to use up some odd bits, which I refer to as “crochet of daydreams past”, and include colorful flowers and leaves, circle-in-square motifs that would make a great cat mat, and a few hundred yos that just hang around in a fabric bag. I’ll get to those later.

I have almost 500 yards of pink, cashmere and merino double-knitting yarn that I am just itching to use on something. I am very tempted to finally try Mollie Flowers. They’d make a cute seat cushion, yet I sort of hate to waste something so soft on everyone’s covered bum. (THIS is so gorgeous though.) They’d make a pretty centerpiece for a table maybe, under a bouquet of real flowers in the spring. Whatever I ultimately choose to make, this yarn is my first choice for my next finished-project fix.

constants :: organizing

We’re going to a concert with the child tonight, so I’m spending the day organizing. It is a constant though… arranging this and that. I would imagine that is the case for most everyone. I enjoy it quite a lot, as long as it’s not an overwhelming task, which I can overcome if I remind myself to take it in small bits.

I’m working on yarns, flosses, and such today, especially trying to make the unattractive corner shelf tolerable.

afghan bits

binding and rick rack

various labels

crochet leftovers

unattractive shelf

whipup 2012 calendar

 whipup calendar

I was thrilled when Kathreen Ricketson invited me to me part of the 2012 annual calendar. I remember, last year at this time, pouring over the 2011 calendar and being so amazed by the talent. It is very humbling to be part of this. I tend not to think of myself as a crafter or an artist or anything but… “hey, I like doing this and I’m going to document it a bit”. I did a small interview there and have been featured alongside June calendar girl, Katie of Duo Fiberworks. (There are links to all the contributors HERE.)

The calendar is available for purchase in two formats, a downloadable PDF file (in three calendar designs) or a print-on-demand version from RedBubble, which is quite oversized and glorious.

In other news, I recently purchased the most beautiful pair of earrings from Julie Smith’s Etsy shop, Under the Tulip Tree. She has a blog with the same name and an aesthetic for making simply lovely things that are not too busy. I routinely don a pair of diamond studs that belonged to my grandmother-in-law, and I feel honored to have those, but I’ve been wanting some variety in my decoration. First, it was over-sized rings and now I’m onto earrings.

Next, I might go wild and shop for a bracelet.


using free gift wrap

free gift wrap

I have started to wrap gifts for my man and my child. Per usual, there are no names on them so that they don’t know which ones to shake. So far, I am using a soft brown packing paper that came with the saw that I ordered for the mister. I don’t think that he has time to read my journal; I feel safe revealing that here. There are two sheets of this paper left and, if I should run out, I will use grocery store bags for larger boxes. I certainly won’t run out of scrap yarn.


whilst wrapping

rag rug crocheting + tips

 rag crocheted bags

I began rag crocheting in October 2010, when I made the “Easy Urban Carryall” (aka ‘the beehive’) from Complete Crochet Techniques and Projects. It was a really easy project, very customizable, and perfect for any beginner. After the first, I made them without a pattern, like the light blue bag that I use to hold extra skeins of yarn during projects.

The ‘frozen earth’ rug is loosely based on a pattern that I found via Ravelry. I followed the directions for five or six rounds, and then I needed to go off on my own and follow the lay of the fabric. It measures 37 inches in diameter, just over three feet. It’s not quite big enough for all of Luna, but she likes to lay on it and wishes to claim it. She would even try to nose it off of my lap while crocheting. Sweet doggy-girl.

I’ve had a lot of inquiries about rag strip crocheting lately. I am no expert, but I have learned a few things through trial and error.

1. There are many items that you can use for rag strip crocheting, but thus far I have used mostly sheets. (I look forward to trying other fibers in the future.) I look for fabric that has been worn thin from use and washing. This will produce a lot less dust and it will be easier to work. Make sure that there aren’t any lint balls on the sheets. Mostly, I would avoid things like flannel and heavy fabrics unless you’re wearing a face mask and/or working outside.

rag strip yarn balls + thread strands

2.  Trim the strings as you go. I start the strip, which is 1/2 – 1-inch in width, with a snip of my scissors, and then I tear it to within a half-inch of the opposite edge. I tug on any strings that want to unravel and cut wherever they are attached. Then, I snip the opposite end and rip again before taking care of those strings. The first time that I stripped a sheet, I didn’t cut off any of the strings until I was done tearing it up and I had a terrible rat’s nest at the end. Also, despite all of this, expect to encounter strings. Sadly, some of the best fabrics produce the most string, as seen in the comparison of the blue and green balls that I made. (That green ball, the better fabric of the two, weighs 1.88 pounds.) While working with the green, I frequently stopped to trim more loose strings. However, this fabric was smooth enough for the rug and the blue turned out too heavy. I’m saving it for another project, an experiment.

3.  Speaking of rat’s nest, I find it helpful to roll my yarn balls as I tear my strips. I let it build up for a little bit and then I wrap it. If I don’t, I will have a knot of that too.

rag strip yarn ball

4.  Rag crocheting with sheets is a workout. I have found it helpful to take frequent breaks, especially until you are used to it. Adjusting one’s grip on the hook, fiber, or project to may help to keep hands and arms from getting too sore. I work less with my hands and more with my shoulders, particularly that right deltoid.

5. If working on something flat and round, like a rug, the increases may need to be adjusted to accommodate wrinkles or curling. If it begins to curl, there needs to be more increases. If it wrinkles, there are too many increases. When changing fabrics during a project, that may cause sudden curling or wrinkles as well. I sometimes need to unravel and adjust. When I added the last color into the rug, it immediately began to wrinkle although I was not increasing at all. I never increased again after adding that color. Weird.

6. Instead of stitch markers, a piece of yarn works just fine for keeping track of where your rows/rounds start. I use this method for most of my crocheting.

7. If the rug still wrinkles or curls a bit when done, you can mist it with a water bottle and smooth out most problems with a hot iron.

 crocheted rag strip rug