Monday, March 12, 2012

Butcher, Baker Candlestick Maker

When you start a business much of the work has to be done in-house in order to save on costs. One of those things that I do myself is product photography. As much as I would like someone else to do it for me, it would be too expensive.

I've tried taking photos of my hats in different settings, in the garden, on models, by a professional photographer, but sometimes it doesn't work out the way I'd like it to. So, I've been trying to just take a photo in the studio with a white background. I've had issues with that as well, but I thought if I had a hat form of some sort, my photos would look better.

  After shopping around at Walmart and other department stores, the only thing I could find was a small bowl, but it wasn't tall enough for the hat to fit on it correctly.

So I decided to make my own.
Luckily I found a bag of Celluclay I had stored in my basement for past 15 years.

I poured it into a small tub and mixed it with water

Then I put a piece of plastic wrap inside the bowl and started pressing the mixture into the bottom of the bowl.

After I had it packed into the bowl, I took it out and added some height to it.

The directions say that you can let it air dry or put in the oven at a low temperature--so in the oven it goes. I'm not sure how long it takes to dry but I'll be posting about it when it's finished.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Summer Garden Granny

I just got back from a winter break in Florida. I took my yarn and hooks in hopes of developing a few more patterns while I was there, but I got distracted by granny squares.

This is the Summer Garden Granny Square from Attic24. I used Simply Soft yarn for most of the colors, but had to use a little Red Heart Supersaver yarn, too. It took about a week to make 48 squares.

I would have liked to make it bigger, but I ran out of yarn and time. I gave it to my mom when it was done.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Where do I insert my hook?

Sometimes it's hard to know where to insert your hook when you are joining a round with a slip stitch. In this example I will use ch-3 to demonstrate.

Use a safety pin or stitch marker to mark the ch-3.

If the ch-3 wasn't marked, you might have thought that you would join the round by inserting your hook where the arrow is pointing to the next stitch.

To join with a sl st, insert your hook into the ch-3, pick up 2 loops from the ch-3.

Pull the yarn through the ch-3 and then through the loop on the hook.

Finished. As you can see in the photo to the left, there is a little gap between the ch-3 and the next stitch. That is caused by the ch-3 being a skinnier stitch than the double crochet stitch.

If you need to make a double crochet increase in the same stitch, first ch-3, then yarn over and insert your hook where the arrow is pointing, yo, pull loop through st, yo, pull through 2 loops on hook, yo, pull through remaining 2 loops on hook.

Monday, January 16, 2012

FPDC, You can do this!

Some crochet stitches seem to be more difficult than others--but they don't have to be scary. The front post double crochet (fpdc) is one of those stitches that you might shy away from. I'm going to show what to look for when you are working in rounds because it's a little different than when you work in rows.

First, let's look at a row. When you insert your hook in a stitch in a row, your hook is inserted just a little to the left of the stitch you will be working. In the photo, looking at the stitch inside the rectangle, the arrow is pointing to where you will insert your hook for that stitch.

However, when you work in rounds, you will insert your hook just to the right of the stitch you are working, as shown in this photo.

To make the fpdc stitch, you yarn over, then insert your hook behind the post of the stitch you are working, yarn over again and pull your hook through to the front of your piece and finish just like a double crochet, yo, pull through two loops, yo, pull through remaining two loops.

You can see in the photo to the left, you do not insert your hook into the top of the stitch; the stitch is made around the post only.

If the next stitch is a double crochet, you want to be careful where you insert your hook. You don't want to insert your hook into the top of the stitch where you just made the fpdc.

Sometimes the top of the next stitch is slightly hidden by the completed fpdc, just remember that you insert your hook to the right of the stitch you will work and that should help you find where you need to insert your hook. See photo below.

Increasing stitches in the round, requires that you make two stitches in the same stitch.The instructions might say to make two fpdc in the same stitch, in this case, you would make two fpdc around the same post. Or the instructions might say to make a half double crochet and fpdc in the same stitch. In that case, you would make a half double crochet in the top of the stitch and the fpdc around the post of the same stitch.

Crochet ribbing can be made by crocheting double crochet and fpdc stitches, When you alternate, fpdc, and another stitch, like double crochet, be sure you don't make your fpdc around the post of the double crochet stitch. In this photo, you can see that the double crochet stitch is between the two fpdc.

 I hope this has answered some of your questions about the front post double crochet stitch and crocheting in the round.

Now go out in confidence and crochet!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Being Different

Many of my ideas don't work out, not initially anyway. Sunday, I came up with an idea for a lacy, flowery triangular head scarf, but the yarn I used was too heavy for the design. Since I don't have the yarn that I need to try it again, that idea will have to wait for another time.

One idea I've had in the back of my mind for awhile is to try some color work that looked like leopard spots. Last night I attempted to crochet it, but it just didn't look the way I wanted it to look. That too, will have to wait.

When I look at what other people are selling, I see a lot of the same patterns. On the one hand it's important to offer what sells. On the other hand, I don't want my shop to look like every other shop that sells crochet patterns. So I'll keep testing new ideas and offering them when they work out. In the meantime, I'll be posting more patterns that are similar to what everyone else is selling.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Blessed Christmas from Magnificat

Dear Friends,

We wish you a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!
May this Christmas be a time of special joy and grace for you and all your family.

We would like to share with you the following "Blessing on Christmas Presents"
that you might like to pray with your family and loved ones.

Asking God's blessing for you and your dear ones, we assure you of our prayers,
and thank you for being a faithful member of the MAGNIFICAT family. 

Sincerely in Christ, 


Litany of Christmas Thanks

Response: Baby Jesus, we thank you.

For the Blessed Virgin Mary your Mother who said "Yes" to the angel. R/

For John the Baptist who leapt in the womb of Elizabeth his mother when you visited him in Mary. R/

For Joseph your foster father who trusted the angel instead of heeding his own doubts. R/

For the donkey that carried your expectant Mother to Bethlehem. R/

For the neighbor who led your holy family to the stable. R/

For the manger in which you were placed as if in the first tabernacle. R/

For the animals who were there in the first moments that you were adored. R/

For the angels and their song that led shepherds to your stable. R/

For the shepherds who worshiped you and then proclaimed the Good News like priests. R/

For Simeon who all his life had been waiting for you in the temple, longing to hold you. R/

For Anna the prophetess who proclaimed you to all those looking for deliverance and peace. R/

For the star that led the Magi to your manger and your Mother. R/

Loving Father,
 all of these Christmas gifts
 symbolize how much you love us
with the supreme Gift of your Son, Jesus Christ,
born for us this Christmas day.
 We give these gifts to one another to express
 how grateful we are for your unfathomable generosity
 and to show how eager we are to share that goodness with one another.
Bless these tokens of love and caring.
Never let us get attached to material things,
but rather let the joy flowing from these presents
 strengthen our bonds of love, deepen our relationships,
and move us to be more thankful, selfless, and giving all the days of our life.
Thank you for the birth of Jesus,
 our brother and our Savior.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning,
is now and will be forever.

*Adapted from Blessing Prayers: Devotions for Growing in Faith
by Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P.

For more information, visit

The image at top is The Adoration of the Shepherds by Philippe de Champaigne (1602-1674), Wallace Collection, London. © The Wallace Collection, dist. RMN/The Trustees of the Wallace Collection.

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Red Heart Rant

Red Heart Super Saver yarn is affordable. That's the only nice thing I can say about it.