Lampwork Bead Stitch Markers

Several years ago I learned how to make lampwork beads and discovered how addictive it can be. There’s something about taking a cylinder of glass sticking it in a blazing hot flame, melting it onto a metal rod that’s absolutely hypnotizing. The next step is deciding what to do with these little gems, so last night I made them into bead markers that are going out as thank you gifts to the Fab Four organizers of the Potholder Swap 2010!

They sort of look like gobstoppers from Willy Wonka!

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Finished!! Potholder Swap 2010!

Finished!!  My potholders for the Potholder Swap 2010! are finally done, crocheted, ends woven in, wet blocked, and pictures taken, they’re ready to be packed up and mailed of to Massachusetts to be sorted and sent to their destinations around the country, or world.  Last year of the five potholders I received, two were from Europe!  I’ve been following the progress of the participates on both the Flickr group and the Ravelry group and have been impressed by all the patterns chosen and the color choices everyone has been making.  The Swap has also been a wonderful way for those that are new to crocheting.  I learned when I was in the 6th grade and made a matching lime green vest and tam (I wish I could find them and post a picture of them because they’re just day-glow bright), but I crochet only occasionally — knitting is my main addiction.  These round little projects have been so much fun to make and I believe that I’m going to have to make a couple of these colorways for myself.

Just as with knitting, the crochet potholders didn’t feel completely done until they were wet blocked.  I’m a firm believer in wet blocking — totally immersing the knit or crocheted fabric in water until it is thoroughly saturated, gently squeezing out any excess water, then laying it flat to dry, pinning if necessary to shape it correctly.  The picot edging had a tendency to curl up and the loop at the top wanted to twist a bit, so every picot, plus the loop was pinned in place while the potholder was wet.  Because it’s been raining here for days, I set up two fans to help with the drying (you can see the black fan in the upper right corner).  To me, spraying my crocheting or knitting with water only slightly affects the outer fibers and blocking with a steam iron only flattens the fibers like a pancake with no loft to the fibers.  Wet blocking gives a more finished look — things look “hand-made” not “home-made” — there’s an enormous difference.

So here’s the lowdown — I used the pattern called “Snail Shell” on page 158 from the book “Crochet Stitch Motifs” .  I used a size C crochet hook and Tahki Cotton Classic yarn.  Since I had a lot of crochet to do and was going to be using a fairly small hook, I decided to try Clover’s Soft Touch crochet hooks and am totally sold on them.  The body of the hook is plastic with an added rubbery cushion where your thumb rest, which is great because I have a tendency to clench my hook like a fiend!  FYI — I found mine on E-bay as a set of six for around $25, including shipping.

I’ll post the potholders I receive in return as soon as I get them!  I can’t wait!!!

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I’ve got yarn . . .

So I ordered 27 skeins of Tahki Cotton Classic yarn from WEBS this week and this tiny box arrived on my doorstep. There’s absolutely no way ALL my yarn could be in there, it must be half the order . . .

but low and behold, all my yarn is crammed in that box — ALL of it!!

Oh, life is good with LOTS of choices! The turquoise colors (on the right) are much greener in color, but you can still get the idea of the range of colors I’ve got to work with. I’m still looking for my pattern, though I think I’m getting closer. My plan is to start crocheting this weekend.

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Potholder Swap 2010!


1. Twister, 2. I Love the Green One. , 3. [04.06.09] flower parts, 4. 90/2009: Topflappen, 5. More potholders, 6. Potholders.. , 7. Shetland Potholder, 8. Fiestaware, 9. Catherine Wheel Hot Pad Back

The Swap is on! Last year I joined in a Potholder Swap – the rules were that each participant was to crochet five potholders, send them to the gracious organizer, Adrian, and in return five potholders would be sent back to you. I received five fabulous potholders, three from the USA, one from the Netherlands and one from Germany. There was a group formed on Flickr and everyone posted their progress — what type yarn, color combinations, patterns, choices and more choices. One wouldn’t think that the lowly potholder/hotpad could be so inspiring, but the imagination and energy poured into these little gems was wonderful. I was hope, hope, hoping that there would be another one this year, but I didn’t know if the organizers would feel up to the challenge again. Oh, me of little faith! This year Adrian will be joined by Maritza, Maryse, and Stacie to sort through the stacks of potholders whilst eating cheese and drinking Pimms (at least that’s how they did it last year).

Last week they announced that Potholder Swap 2010! was on and anyone was welcome to join in. The rules being that you must crochet 5 potholders and they must be on Adrians doorstep by March 27th. (go HERE and HERE for the low down on the rules) Groups on Ravelry and Flickr have been formed to answer questions and post progress.

So, I’ve pulled out my books, ordered a couple more and sent out an order for more DK weight cotton yarn than anyone one person should possess in a lifetime. Finding the “perfect” pattern is half the battle, so that’s first on my list. Here are a few of the free patterns that are in the running: Pretty Petals, Old-Fashioned Potholders, Wool Eater (the pattern is for an afghan and has been modified, it’s #2 in the picture mosaic), 10 Point Hotpad, Scalloped Potholder, Hot Stuff (sometimes called Squiggly) and Catherine’s Wheel (the pattern is for a scarf and has been modified, it’s #9 in the picture mosiac). Last year I made my potholders using a afghan square pattern from the book “200 Crochet Blocks” using pattern #189 as the front and pattern #157 as the back.

Egad!! Decisions! Decisions!! The clock is ticking and I need to choose a pattern . . .

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Hoops & Yoyo & me

Wow! Hallmark had it’s 100th anniversary in January — it’s hard to imagine!! As part of the anniversary hoopla, Hoops and Yoyo made an appearance and I got to get my picture taken with them . . .

I know you were afraid to ask so I’ll just tell you — I’m the one in the middle.

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January 2010 Spinsters Club

Last Sunday I loaded up my car with my spinning wheel and fiber and headed out to Harveyville for our January Spinsters gathering. Nikol was the host with the most providing a wonderful setting for spinning, laughing and coffee. I missed the last get together and we didn’t meet in December and I was beginning to have Spinsters withdrawl! I missed seeing everyone so much — I love catching up with everyone and hearing all about their lives.

Since Nikol has umpteen carders, she invited us all to bring 2-4 ounces of fiber so we could make crazy batts!! Yipee!! We did that two years ago during one our meetings at Harveyville and had great fun with it. I almost forgot to bring any fiber and Grasshopper luckily reminded me just as I was stepping out the door. I would have been so sad if I had shown up empty handed!

We put out the empty baskets and divided up our fiber so that everyone got a taste of each others fiber. That orange fiber was such an amazing color and there was also a green that made me smile — it ended up being a nice range of colors.

Grasshopper turning away at the carder. Nikol had four carding stations set up so no one had to wait very long for their turn.

Voila! Here’s my finished batt.

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World Nutella Day!

February 5th is the fourth annual World Nutella Day!  If you go to the World Nutella Day website there are recipes, stories and more information than you could ever use on the delectable chocolate hazelnut spread.  I’ve never liked peanut butter and my family thinks that I’m an alien from another planet because of that fact (well, maybe for a few other reasons as well).  But Nutella, that’s an entirely different story.  When my nephew came home from spending a semester studying in Vienna, he was addicted to Nutella, carrying a spoon and a jar of the stuff everywhere he went.  With that kind of devotion I just had to try it to and loved it.  Nutella was created in the 1940’s by an Italian named Pietro Ferro in response to the shortage of chocolate due to WWII.  There were plenty of hazelnuts, so they were used to extend the chocolate and the yummy spread was originally called “pasta gianduja”.  It’s great on toast and bagels, but I have to admit that I like to eat it right out of the jar.

So here’s to World Nutella Day!  Enjoy!

Also, if you want to try making your own homemade Nutella, here’s a fabulous recipe!

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