Saturday, April 30, 2011

Old Purse, New Look

I have used this shoulder bag of straw many summers, since I found it left by my late, dear mother-in-law.  Lately I have been crocheting a lot of flowers in bright colours, with leaves in bright green.  I have made brooches, and added them to hair clips.  And this spring I decided to spruce up Mom's bag, with some flowers.

I like the look.  I also made a little curlicue in the same colour as the leaves and glued it to the zipper pull.  The flowers and leaves also are attached with the glue gun.  My husband says: "Mom would really like this re-purposing of her shoulder bag".

Instructions are at "How do I do that".  Colours in the photograph are not exactly true to life but in  aqua, lavender, hot pink and butter yellow, with green apple leaves.

~ Tranquility and Tolerance ~

Monday, April 25, 2011


Recently on one of the yarn sites, someone asked: which do you prefer: knitting or crochet and why?

I like both,  but my stitches are uneven and with crochet that is less noticeable.  Also, crochet is faster, and I like to finish projects fast; I like to see results quickly.  I am a rather impatient person.  "Why do you have to do everything so fast?",  is a question I have heard all my life.  I have no answer.  It is just who I am: fast, furious, fanatical and frantic.  When I still worked as an RN, at times,  those were life saving qualities.  There's an upside to everything...

Knitting is slower and I also never learned it properly.  I knit holding a needle in each hand and letting go of the right needle to wind the yarn around it every stitch.  It is how my mother knitted.  I admire those who can hold the yarn around either their right forefinger and quickly zip it around the needle, or even more miraculously, I have seen people who hold the yarn in the left fingers, and the right needle appears to dive under it and come up with a stitch.  I have not been able to duplicate that.   Knitting gets much softer, pliable and even prettier results and some people knit as if it was done by machine. (Some machines knit like people...).   My stitches are, like I said, never all exactly the same.   Crocheted items appear to have more "body" are thicker, more sturdy, depending on the yarn used of course, and on the whole I prefer crocheting, but wish I were a better, prettier, more even knitter.

I am, surprisingly, a very good cross stitcher.  "All the cover stitches in one direction", I still hear the teacher in home ec class repeatedly whisper.  Guided by the canvas, I can follow like a sheep.  But not very often.  It is like listening to Bach: there is a beautiful mathematical, calming and almost mesmerizing  aspect to it.  To be moved to the depth of my soul, however, I prefer Brahms, Beethoven or Berlioz.

Do you ever think that the look of a person's stitches, may reflect aspects of their personality? I think so.  In some ways I am like my stitches: fast, at times uneven,  colorful, a bit chaotic, often original, a bit nervous and many-faceted.  What do your stitches reveal about you?

~ Tranquility and Tolerance ~

Friday, April 15, 2011

Minnie Mouse Slippers

I just threw these together in an evening.  They are T shaped and then sewn together kimono style.  I got the pattern at the site below.  I decided to make them in black with a big red bow, and they turned out like Minnie Mouse shoes. I crocheted them,  just following the general measurements of the knitted ones, and measuring my feet.  Very easy, and comfy.  Even in sunny California, I always seem to have cold feet  - or perhaps that is a general character flaw...  8-[.

(Photo from

Sorry, my picture is a bit fuzzy.  I have a new camera, which appears to be so totally not compatible with my Mac OS.  Always something, innit?  But you get the idea.

Thank you, Niftyknitting!

~ Tranquility and Tolerance ~

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Double (less) Trouble

I like to buy cheap balls of unusual yarns, usually at Big Lots, or in other sales bins.  I add them to my stash, until I get an idea or inspiration what to make with it.

One particular purchase caused me nothing but trouble.  It is a yarn made of two parallel black threads with at regular intervals colored silky sections in it - like leaded glass.  When you try to knit or crochet with it, the needles (or their "conductor")  have a heck of a time getting into the right opening.  It also twisted and frayed easily.  It was very pretty, but unpleasant to work with.

Over the course of a year I managed to make one crocheted shawl with it, which I gave to my housekeeper.  I used part of it for a free style project,  where it doesn't matter what it looks like and where mistakes could be taken as a deliberate part of the pattern.  When I still had some left I decided to combine it with black Red Heart acrylic (I once bought a bunch of it cheap before I knew that it is highly flammable) and the result is below.  Crocheting it this way turned out to a lot easier but fair warning, when you see this holy ladder like yarn - run!

 I am going to make a purse out of this, I think...

~ Tranquility and Tolerance ~

Friday, April 8, 2011

Folded Folders

CPS magazine has several articles on how to make your own art books.  I have started to make them from old Manila folders.  This is a work in progress and needs a lot more detail and finishing.  Part of it is machine sewn, part crochet and glued on, part is painted on muslin. 

And yes, there still are Fudruckers!!!  Found one on Ventura Blvd, Yeah!

~ Tranquility and Tolerance ~

Monday, April 4, 2011

You know: For Kids!

Actually that's the name of the Coen Brothers website and a line from "The Hudsucker Proxy, my least favorite CB movie.  Which reminds me of Fudruckers:  What ever happened to Fudruckers Burgers?  Do they still exist anywhere?

Anyway,  some of the kids of my friends in Europe have kids now, and I am trying to make something for the daughter of my oldest and best friend.   I followed the pattern in that new Crochet book I just got but I guess I used a thicker, heavier yarn, and my jacket looks a lot bigger.  It is supposed to be for a three year old but I have no idea what the corresponding size would be.

So I put the question to my trusty fellow knitters and crocheters at Knitting Paradise and sure enough, what I have made will probably fit an 18 months' old.  So now I have to find a big baby, which is no trouble at all through my volunteer work.   But I may take it first to a kids' clothes department and compare it,  as one of them suggested.  That was a good idea, thanks.

I had never crocheted something this small and I enjoyed making this.  It was quick, and easy.

To stay in the "mood" I tried one of those amigurumis with the leftover white yarn.  Wow, that was a lot more work than I expected and she will be an only child, just like me.  It is cute, but too much work for such a tiny thing.   My husband cracked up when he saw me making doll clothes. 

~ Tranquility and Tolerance ~

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Crocheting with Beads

Recently I completed these little items after learning to crochet with beads.  You have to string the beads on the yarn first - duh!    That honestly had not occurred to me until I read it somewhere... how doofussy is that?

We are having summer here in SoCal.  Beach weather; cats happy that the sun is back, and warm again.  The smell of kerosene, charcoal, and burnt meat in the air...  paradise!?

~ Tranquility and Tolerance ~