Saturday, May 21, 2011


by Kelly

 Knitpro is a free site (that PayPal button they have is for donations) that turns your image into a cross stitch, crochet, or knit pattern. It's really easy to use - input your image, choose the kind of pattern you need, and click the submit button. In no time you'll have a printable version.

Just don't try to do anything too complicated.  Simple patterns with few colors are best. I tried a sunset scene and it turned out really well. Now if only I had ink for my printer.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Surprisingly Edible Plants

by Kelly

In honor of the heavy-duty gardening that I suspect is going on  outside Dawn and Donna's homes today, i thought I'd share something surprising that I found on Modish.

Everyone knows some of the standard edible flowers - dandelions, clover, violets, nasturtiums, roses and the like. Here's a list I found at Wikipedia.

I was surprised to see Lilacs and Sunflowers (yes, the flower, not just the seeds) on the list. However, I was even more surprised to find out that this common garden plant is also edible - Hostas!

Here's the article, if you're interested. In one recipe, you boil the leaves for one and a half minutes, rinse them, and serve them with salad dressing.

I would imagine you would have to be very careful as to exactly which Hostas you decide to eat, and probably the young leaves would taste the best.

Also. no one volunteers exactly what the leaves taste like. It might be an acquired taste, like spinach, or so bland that you can't describe it, like iceberg lettuce. So it might be best to sample them (carefully) first, before you dish some up for your next garden party.

I always found Hostas pretty boring compared to ferns or actual flowering garden plants, but maybe I'll have some in my garden in the future.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Crochet Fashionistas

While I love to work on scarves and dishcloths (you know, things that are rectangle), I am branching out into clothing [insert forboding music here...]. A little daunting for sure, but I think I'm up for the challenge. The project I'm doing right now is a beautiful (yet simple) crocheted camisole - I should be finished in the next few days and will post a pic. I think one of my obstacles to making this leap in the past has been most of the clothing patterns I was used to seeing were SO old school. Granny square vests and beer can hats (yeah, I had one). But there is a whole new generation of crocheters out there doing really amazing things. One of my favorites right now are the Double Stitch Twins. They are affiliated with Red Heart and have an amazing collection of stuff I might actually wear, not that the beer can hat wasn't fashionable. Check their patterns out at

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What to do with the Gypsy Shawl

by Kelly

So here's the shawl I've been working on, on and off, for about oh, six months now...

My question is, is it done? I think the wooden beads help it out a lot, but it just seems like there's still something missing. Maybe a little glint of gold embroidery on that seam by the beads? I've got some metal thread in my needlework bag that is just begging to be used on something.

It's in our shop right now, but there's no interest, so it could still be worked on. Any ideas?

The Scary Owl Pillow (Vintage)

by Kelly

My aunt is a wonderful embroiderer and crocheter. She tried to teach me when I was younger, but I just wasn't patient enough.

A while ago, when she found out about my sudden conversion to crafting, she handed off this kit to my mom, who then passed it along to me. This is a crewel pillow cover, care of Kugel-Vogart, 1971. Take a look.

The yarn color is what really throws me. Did people perceive color differently forty years ago? The owl is freaky enough, but that moon is definitely  a Stephen King colored moon. Fuming orange, indeed. Now I know what he was trying to get across.

The interesting part, though, is that only half the materials are still in the kit. Although the pattern for the mushroom is still there, the stamped pillow cover and yarn are gone. Someone made that pillow. They scorned the embroidery transfers of pretty flowers, dancing vegetables, and girls in dresses holding puppies, and chose a sinister mushroom instead.

And now owls have come back into fashion. So, do you know anyone who's looking for a vintage owl pattern? I have just the thing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bears for Etsy

by Kelly

Bears for the shop. Did you know that a group of bears was called a 'sleuth'?

 They will go up for sale as soon as I get some cute ribbons to add to them. I will pair up one blue and one pink and list them together as baby shower gifts.
Also working on a bride and groom set. What do you think?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Review - 50 Sensational Crochet Afghans and Throws

by Kelly

While Dawn may get a little weak in the knees when confronted with a wall of yarn skeins, I have a different addiction - books.

Now, an additional difference is that I don't just love crafty books - I love all books. But I am going to spare your sanity and limit myself here to the topic of craft books, and in particular to only one of my favorites - 50 Sensational Crochet Afghans and Throws. Just check out that image on the cover. The look of stained glass achieved with crochet. Stunning.

And it gets even better inside. Page after page of beautiful afghans, with every stitch and technique fully explained, and even intricate patterns involving clusters, shells, and cables reduced to a level that a beginner like me can understand.
Dreamy, lacy creations like the one above, snuggly baby blankets, intricate throws made with rich colors of yarn that I have never heard of...what's not to like?

The patterns range from easy to a third level intermediate. To give you some perspective, the stained glass blanket on the cover has the highest difficulty level. It's made of single squares, joined together, with a border added at the end, and the hardest stitch used is a cluster. Of course, three pages are dedicated to the squares themselves, not to mention assembly and the border. Even I wasn't tempted to rush into this one.

So I started with something simpler - the Peaceful Harmony pattern. Ahhh, that sounds nice and soothing, doesn't it? And look, it's one step above beginner - perfect.

And how glad I am that I started with this one! The pattern itself was only a two row repeat, but there was some jiggery required at the edges to make things line up. So I learned a bit there, and at the same time used up a heap of my stash and got a quick, warm afghan that our cat loves to sleep on. It would be nice if I got to use it sometimes too, but hey, anything to keep peace in the family. Below is a picture of my version of the pattern, using stray skeins that I had on hand.

It has kind of a vintage, southwest feel. I'm sure that has nothing to do with the fact that almost every skein of yarn used to make it had a crumbling label from the seventies. If you look closely, you may see two rows of a color the yarn company called 'harvest gold'. I would have labeled it 'baby poop brown' myself. So why did I use it? Well, honestly, where else could I have ever used that yarn? It's only two rows. Besides, after a certain point, stash busting becomes addictive.

All in all, I am very pleased with this book. Four out of five stars for this one, my only reservation being that even with a weight to hold the book open, it had a tendency to spring shut at inopportune moments. If you see this book in a spiral-bound version, by all means pick it up. Or buy yourself a book stand.
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