Thursday, January 31, 2019

A Bit Chilly

...is one way to describe the weather this week.

Yesterday we woke up to ice on the windows and an outdoor thermometer reading of 25 below zero.



Brrr!

The wind chill has been brutal, topping out at -52┬║ on Wednesday. Area schools are closed, mail delivery is suspended, and even our bank is keeping reduced hours. (That's a first in my memory.)

Tomorrow we should get back on the right side of zero, and weekend temperatures are forecast to reach the 40s. Winter in Wisconsin is a delightful thing. :)

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Cold weather is crochet weather. Here's what the Micawber hook has been producing:


Cable swatches for The Book
Mitt samples for upcoming pattern release

There has also been much drinking of tea and snuggling under blankets. Weather like this makes us realise how rich we are in shelter, food, and comfort.

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I've been doing a little jewelry-designing at work, and will be teaching classes on these projects over the next month or two:



I think I've mentioned before that I love my job. :)

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Can you believe it's the end of January already, and winter half over? The sun has been creeping ever-so-slightly northwards, and staying up a little later each day. Spring may seem but a distant dream, but it'll be here before we know it.

How's winter treating you?

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Monday, January 21, 2019

Syncline Hat ~ My First Self-Published PDF Pattern!

I'm very excited to announce my first foray into the world of self-publishing.

Meet the Syncline Hat:


Syncline features columns of single crochet worked in the front and back loops; edging options include a simple chain edge, a narrow band, or a wider band. The result is a stretchy, comfortable ribbed hat with clean lines and great texture that look good on any gender.


Syncline works up quickly in worsted weight yarn, but can easily be adapted to any yarn weight. Of the four samples shown here, two are worsted weight, one is bulky weight, and one is fingering weight. All are comfortable and fun to wear.

The Syncline Hat pattern comes as a downloadable PDF, available here in my brand-new Ravelry store. (You don't need to be a Ravelry member to buy the pattern.)

For you, dear readers, there's a 25% discount on this pattern through Sunday January 27, with code MMRFH. (To have the code entered automatically and be taken straight to checkout, click here.)

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I'm so grateful for all the readers who have cheered my design efforts over the years, or left encouraging comments in response to the patterns I've posted here. This isn't the end of free patterns on the blog; it's just the next step in my crochet career. Thank you for being part of that.


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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Crochet-Wrapped Tassel with Twisted Chain Cord

Here's a quick tutorial for using crochet chains to dress up a plain tassel.

You will need: yarn, scissors, ruler, crochet hook, yarn needle, and something to wrap the yarn around (try a wide ruler, small book, piece of cardboard, or dedicated tassel tool).


1. Leaving a 3" tail, firmly chain about 10", or to desired length. Cut yarn 3" from last chain and tie off.
2. Holding the crochet chain at one long edge of your tassel form, wrap the yarn around the form to the desired tassel thickness. For this tassel (made with DK weight yarn), I wrapped completely around the ruler 20 times. For a fuller tassel, or if using finer yarn, try 40 wraps or more.
Optional: you can also set the chain aside and slide it through the loops after you finish wrapping.
3. Center the loops on the chain, then tie chain ends in a double knot close to the loops. This is the top of your tassel.
4. Slide the loops off the form.
5. Cut a piece of yarn 2 ½ times the length of your tassel. Wrap the yarn twice around the tassel, about ½ - 1" from the top; tie firmly with a double knot, pulling the yarn as tight as you can.
6. Weave the yarn tails over the wrapped yarn and down through the tassel. Set tassel aside.


7. Leaving a tail as long as your tassel, firmly chain 2-3". Cut yarn, again leaving a tail as long as your tassel, and tie off loosely.
8. Firmly wrap the chain 3-4 times around the tassel over the previous yarn wrap until the chain ends barely meet. (You can frog chain stitches as needed to adjust the length.)
9. Keeping the chain wrap flat and smooth, tie the chain tails together with a firm double knot. Weave the tails through the chain and into the tassel.
10. Insert scissors into the looped tassel ends. Pulling gently to keep the blade centered, cut across all the loops.
11. Trim tassel ends as needed.
12. Lay the tassel on the table (or any flat surface). Without lifting the tassel, grasp one of the chain ends and twist it several times. Without letting go of the first chain, twist the second chain several times in the same direction.


Lift the tassel off the table. The chain ends should now twist around each other. Adjust the twist as desired, then secure the twist by tying a knot at the chain ends.

And there you are - one crochet-wrapped tassel with twisted chain cord!


P.S. These tassels look especially cute hanging from the top of a slouchy crochet hat....

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

January Smiles

2019 has gotten off to a pleasant start.

On New Year's Eve a thick, soft snow began to fall. It continued through the night, and we woke the next morning to a bright beautiful world of clean-scrubbed air and sparkling blue-and-white skies:


I thought winter had settled in for good, but by the end of the week the mercury was rising. The first Saturday of the year dawned warm and clear, with a forecast of temps in the mid-40s, and enough sun to melt much of the snow off the roads.

Who could resist such a temptation? Not I.


Nothing puts a smile on my face like an unexpected January ride. :) It was such a treat to see open water:



And my own snowy shadow racing by my side:


To visit my favourite larches:


And hear Tallulah hollering "January ride! Woo hoo!"


We were surprised to see a woolly bear crossing the road (we though they'd all be hibernating by now). I stopped for a photo, and asked Tallulah if she'd like to climb down and say hello. "No thank you," she replied. "The last time I made friends with a woolly bear it nearly broke my heart. I think I'll stay in my basket."


So I snapped a photo or two, then climbed back into the saddle for a last few happy miles.

Alas, this halcyon weather didn't last. Rain began falling the next day, turning the world sodden and grey, and last night the mercury dropped sharply, driven downwards by an icy northwest wind. Winter is back.

How's 2019 treating you so far?

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