Archive for November, 2009

Fabric Gift Bags

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

by Nancy

I’d like to make some fabric gift bags for Christmas presents this year, but I’m not sure where to start. Any advice from Crackpots who have more experience in this area?

If you give a Crackpot a crochet hook…

Monday, November 16th, 2009

by Nancy



…she’s likely to get carried away!

Modified Melinda

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

By Ann

Last Saturday I took an apron-making workshop at the living history site that is familiar to all of you. We were making 1920s period aprons, and made the simplest pattern available, the “Melinda.” I knew from previous experience with a Melinda apron that the standard one-size-fits-all pattern which has a one-piece yoke going around the neck, would be too long from the shoulders to the waist for me, so, with the help of the woman leading the workshop, I shortened the yoke. The first step in making the apron is to bind the inside edge of the yoke and attach it to the body of the apron. As soon as I started to pin the yoke to the body, I realized that the finished apron would never go over my head. Oooops! After much laughter and all sorts of suggestions from my fellow seamstresses, some of which I found totally incomprehensible, I decided that the simplest Plan B was to convert the yoke to ties. Hence the “Modified Melinda” below:

Melinda apron

As you can see, it really is simple! I do plan to add pockets, but that will come after the next step in the process. Now that I have a lovely new apron, all I need is the dress to go with it. I found a lovely blue tone-on-tone at Joann’s when I bought the apron fabric, but I can’t buy the fabric for the dress until I alter the pattern to fit me. I found the pattern I want to use – it’s a 1920s pattern – and although it is labeled as medium, it is HUGE. I tried altering it myself, but it is definitely not a one-person job, so I plan to bring the pattern to the forthcoming holiday extravaganza and get some help from Marty before proceeding. (You have been forewarned, Marty!) And this time I plan to make a muslin before proceeding with the real fabric. The dress I have now, for which Marty and I altered the pattern, is still a bit looser than I would like across the shoulders, so I hope to do a bit better the second time around.

The Next Sweater

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

I’ve started on my next sweater, one that I’ve been thinking about for months. For two of those months, the color of yarn I wanted for the sweater body was back-ordered, which gave me time to work on Big Blankie 3.0 (all done except for more border rows, but completely usable now) and some other things. The yarn I’m using is Fresco by Classic Elite, a super-soft blend of wool, alpaca, and some angora. Due to the extreme softness, I expect that it won’t be the most hard-wearing sweater ever, but the yarn and the fabric it produces are so lovely that I’m willing to put up with the disadvantages of extra-cozy yarn.

I started on the sweater itself yesterday, and it’s not looking too exciting yet – but here’s a picture of the swatch I made.


Yes, it’s narrower at the top than the bottom – this is intentional, because the owls go around the yoke, and my neck is narrower than my shoulders. The background color is slightly greener than it appears in the picture (at least on my monitor, but I don’t trust its colors to be true enough to go to the hassle of color correction).

I’m using Kate Davies’ lovely Paper Dolls pattern for the sweater itself, exchanging the dolls for the owls from spillyjane’s Owlsocks. I didn’t come up with this pattern combination myself – props go to some brilliant folks on Ravelry. I’m also planning to make the sleeves full-length (assuming I don’t run out of yarn).

Flannel Baby Blanket

Saturday, November 14th, 2009


by Nancy
This is a flannel baby blanket I made this past spring for a friend’s new baby girl. It’s just two different squares of flannel sewn together with rick-rack in the seam. It was quite easy to make, but I did have a little trouble getting the rick-rack positioned where I wanted it while sewing the two

flannel pieces together. I think if I did it again I would either use larger rick-rack (I used medium, and I think jumbo would have been easier to catch in the seam) or baste the rick-rack first. But, overall, I was pleased with the results. It’s very soft and cozy!

Place Mats!

Friday, November 13th, 2009

by Ann

My set of six reversible, strip-pieced place mats to go with our dining room decor is now completely completed! Two are in use as I type, and the remaining 4 are in the place mat drawer waiting to be called upon. Here they all are. The two in the middle are “upside down” so you can see the reverse side. The one on the lower left looks a bit wrinkly because when I took the photo, I had not yet finished stitching the binding.

6 placemats

And here is a photo of the place mats in situ. Please note the small center piece. It’s hard to identify the flowers in the photo, but they are shapdragons and petunias from my garden. In mid-November! Incredible!

placemats in situ

By golly, it’s a Granny Square!

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Granny Square
Wow! I am immensely proud of myself with this one. I had sort of a breakthrough the other day when crocheting in the round finally started to click in my mind, and this was the result. Making a Granny Square was quite satisfying to me, and then I found a book called 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans at the library, so we could be in for some serious crackpottiness here. Not that I needed any more projects, mind you. And did you know there are patterns for making crochet sushi? Oh my…

Do comments count?

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

by Ann

Do comments count as NaBloPoMo posts? Of course they do! We are Crackpots and anything goes! So please see my comment on Nancy’s Sesame Street post.

Delinquent Crackpot

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

posted by Ann

Thanks to a high school classmate who asked me in an e-mail about my quilting and whether I have a web site, I checked into our blog for the first time in ages and discovered all sorts of posts, all sorts of news, an impressive number of posts by Nancy, and a new look to the blog. Now I feel like a Delinquent Crackpot. And its NaBloPoMo time, so I will now attempt to make up for my laxness by posting frequently.
One thing I have noticed about the change in the blog administration is that postings are no longer identified by author at the top, which I found a bit confusing at first as I tried to catch up, so I plan to try to remember to alert you all as to who I am at the top of my posts.
More later. Well, tomorrow, to be precise. Gotta keep those NaBloPoMo stats up!

Crochet Samples

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Well, finally I’ve been able to take a picture of my first few attempts at crochet. These actually are not my very first attempts – those were a bit too messy to post. But after switching from a baby-weight yarn which was both small and slippery, to a regular worsted weight cotton, and after some initial practice, I got a lot better. These are, from top to bottom, single crochet, half double crochet, and double crochet.

I started feeling more confident, so I tried doing a triangle by increasing and by decreasing. The last one is my first attempt at working in the round. It’s supposed to be a triangle, too, but it looks kind of circular to me.

My initial thoughts on crochet: It seems harder to me than knitting but also more interesting, and I think it’s for the same reason. There are more variations and different shapes you can make, which makes it tougher, but I like the variety of results you can achieve. Of course, it may seem harder and more interesting just because it’s new to me. It is a good thing to do when you’re very low on energy and stuck on the couch watching boring TV. I was hoping to get back to some work on the vehicles quilt today but I’m feeling very tired out at the moment, so I may stick to the couch and crochet today.