Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Poppy

I’ve had a hard time getting this one right. The motifs are getting a little more complicated as they go along and my "crochet French" hasn’t improved much so it’s taking longer to do each one. The first time through this one, for example, I didn’t understand that you were supposed to round the small petals rather than making them square-ish like the large petal. If I had looked at the photo I might have realized that something was missing, but I was just barreling along. While I still don’t know if I’m following Mme Hardouin completely here, I’ve worked it out well enough so that the end result looks like hers.

For the motif pictured I used:

No 60 thread
No 10 padding cord (pc)
1.00mm hook
Pattern uses US terminology

From the Guipure d'Irlande books by Mme Hardouin.
You can download or view it here.

No. 3 - Le Pavot (the Poppy)
Wrap pc around shaft of hook (or whatever) twice.
Work 35 sc in the ring and join
Ch 1, *1 sc in next st, 2 sc in next st,* repeat * to * across (52 sts), drop pc
Small petal
1 sc in the 1st sc, 1 dc in next sc,
15 dc over next 10 sc (2 dc in every other sc),
1 dc in next sc, 1 sc in next sc, turn
ch 1, 1 sc in each stitch of previous row,
sl into ring (in same st as 1st sc of petal), turn
1 sc in the 1st sc, 1 dc in next sc,
20 dc over next 15 sc (2 dc in every 3rd sc),
1 dc in next sc, 1 sc in next sc, sl to ring as before, turn
ch 1, then 1 sc in each stitch of previous row,
pick up pc and sc around petal (2 sc in approx. every other stitch)
Make two sc on the round with the pc, drop pc.
Large petal
*ch 3, sk 1, 1 sc in next sc*, repeat 6x (creating 7 ch 3 spaces), turn
*ch 3, 1sc in first ch 3 space* repeat 6x, turn
*ch 3, 1sc in first ch 3 space* repeat 6x, turn
4 sc in each of the ch 3 spaces, turn
ch 3, then dc across, turn
sc in each dc, turn
ch 3, then dc across, turn
sc in each dc
Work slip stitches down side of large petal, pick up pc and work as in first petal, but make 3 sc in each corner.

Make second small petal

Make 40 sc on pc alone and turn
1 dc on each sc
Make a round with the pc a little larger than the hole in the middle (go around twice so the pc is doubled),
*5 sc, 1 picot* repeat * to * 4 more times, 2 sc
secure to original ring with a slip st opposite the stem
2 sc, *5 sc, 1 picot* repeat * to * 4 more times, 5 sc
secure pc and cut.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sweet Briar Rose

I’m having fun with this one. This motif starts off by wrapping with the working thread rather than using padding cord. That’s a new one on me. Padding is only needed for the inner circle and the outer border, so maybe the original designer (Mme. Hardouin, I assume) didn’t want to fiddle with pc for the center. The book says this is a “small and lightweight design” and recommends thread Nos. 80, 90 and 100. I used 60 since that’s the smallest I have. It actually turned out prettier than I expected.

For the motif pictured I used:
No 60 thread
No 10 padding cord (pc)
1.00mm hook 

Pattern uses US terminology

From the Guipure d'Irlande books by Madame Hardouin.
You can download or view it here.


No. 2 - L’EGLANTINE (sweet briar rose)

Wrap thread (not pc) 25 to 30 times around the shaft of your hook (trying to wrap in the same place for a nice firm ring), remove ring from hook, work 20 sc in ring and join
*ch 5, skip 1 sc, sc in the next sc* repeat 9 times (10 total arches)
ch 2, 1 sc in top of first ch 5 arch, ch 5, sc in the middle of each remaining arch
ch 5, sl in 1st ch of first arch
6 sc in each of the 10 ch 5 spaces

sc in next sc
ch 3, *1 dc in the next sc, 2 dc in next sc*, repeat * to * 3 more times, 1 dc in next sc (total of 1 ch 3 and 13 dc over 10 sts)
turn, ch 3, 1 dc in same dc and each dc of previous row (14 dc)
turn, ch 3, 1 dc in same dc and each dc of previous row (15 dc)
8 sl st down side of petal
2 sc in next 2 sc of the center

Repeat petal 4 times (5 petals total)

Hold pc against side of first petal and fasten at ring
8 sc up side of petal, 3 sc in corner, one sc in each dc across top of petal,
three sc in the opposite corner, 8 sc down side and 1 sc in the hollow between the petals.
Repeat for remaining petals, secure pc and cut.

Monday, July 9, 2012

new project

I've decided to try some of the motifs from the Guipure d'Irlande books by Madame Hardouin.
The Smithsonian owns a copy of the books (apparently a hardbound version containing 6 volumes) and it's been added to the Internet Archive. You can download or view it here.

The thing is, the books are in French and I don't speak a word of it. Some of the ladies in the Irish Crochet group on Ravelry have translated a few of the motifs to English, which is great. For most of the motifs, though, I can't find anything in English. So, it'll be slow, but I'm going to try them, translating as I go using online tools, starting with the simplest and moving on from there. As I work each one out, I'll try to post a photo of my motif with my translation.

I'm no expert at (a) French, (b) Irish Crochet or (c) writing patterns, so my "translations" are probably more like loose interpretations. If anyone does speak French (or IC or "pattern") and notices something I left out or did wrong, I'd be grateful if you'd let me know so I can fix it. Hopefully I'll get better as I go along.

Here's my first. I don't know if there's a different, more flowery meaning for this word in French, but I can't find any, so I present "The Propeller."(!) 

For the motif pictured I used:
No 20 thread
No 10 padding cord (pc)
1.10mm hook 

Pattern uses US terminology

Motif No. 1 - L'helice

Wrap the pc around the end of your hook, pencil, whatever, twice.
Make 35 dc in the ring, ss to close ring, turn.
First arm 
On the pc alone, make 1sc, 20 dc, 2 sc,
pull gently on pc to bend the arm, turn.
(At this point you might want to compare your work to the photo to make sure the arm is bending in the right direction.)
Skip 2 sc, and working in back loops only,
1sc in each of 20 dc, 1 sc in sc.
Make 5 sc in next 5 dc of ring (working through both loops), turn.
Second arm 
*On pc alone, make 1sc, 30 dc, 2 sc,
pull gently on the pc to create an arc,
Join to 14th sc of first arm (counting from ring), turn.
Skip 2 sc, working in back loops only,
1sc in each of 20 dc, 1 sc in sc.
Make 5 sc in next 5 dc of ring (working through both loops of stitch).*
Repeat * through * 4 more times.
On pc alone, make 1sc, 40 dc, 2 sc, turn.
Skip 2 sc, 1 sc in each of 40 dc, 1 sc in sc.
Make 5 sc in next 5 dc of ring.
Secure pc to back of work and cut.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I realize this is not normal

What do you do when you have a whole lunch hour to kill and you have your thread, but you’ve left your hook with your other project? I’m pretty sure I know what normal people DON’T do. They don’t obsessively fashion a hook out of a plastic kitchen knife using the keychain version of a Swiss Army Knife, a pair of office scissors and an emery board, leaving no time to actually crochet anything. Because that’s … not normal. Heh.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Irish summer

I never liked dolls. Not ever. Yet, as a kid, I created a dollhouse out of some modular shelving that covered one wall of my room because I was fascinated by miniatures. I’d spend hours in there crafting tiny pies and chairs and blankets.

I also became entranced by a National Geographic article about Ukranian Easter eggs (pysanky). The colors and detail just drew me in. I remembered that article until adulthood, when I was able to search for information about pysanky on the internet. I loved them so much I had to make them myself. I bought all the equipment and started learning. Those guys in the photo are mine.

Tiny, detailed stuff calls to me like a siren's song. So it has been and ever shall be. When I started knitting, I went straight for the intricate lace, then intricate colorwork, then intricate cabling. I suppose it's really no surprise that I’ve gravitated toward Irish crochet.

 I’m not good at it yet. These are, literally, my very first attempts at real, padded motifs. But I’m having a blast. I've started with some motifs from Priscilla Irish Crochet No 1 and Dillmont (DMC) Irish Crochet Lace, both of which can be found in the Antique Pattern Library. The largest motif is actually one of the recent CALs from the Irish Crochet group on Ravelry. I don't have it with me, but I'd estimate it to be around 3.5" long.

Getting the supplies hasn’t been as easy as I expected. You'd think, living in a big city, you'd have easy access to everything under the sun, right? Not so much when it comes to old school things like crochet/tatting thread. I haven't found anything smaller than #20 thread locally, so that's what I've started with. It seems small to someone who started out as a knitter, but I want to go smaller. I bought my first pair of reading glasses to magnify the tiny thread and hooks. It helps a lot, even with the #20. I’ve just received some nice #60 thread and I’m looking forward to torturing myself with it at lunch today.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Antique-Style Cordelière for Drawstring Bags

This is a style of drawstring/strap that was sometimes used in patterns for crochet bags in the early 1900s. Many of these old patterns are public domain and are free if you know where to look (start at the Antique Pattern Library). While I didn't design this thing originally, I feel like the instructions in those patterns are lacking in detail for modern crochet vixens who haven’t ever put one of these together. I've made some adjustments and given a more thorough explanation of the construction.

The following instructions are for a bag with two rows of drawstring holes around the top into which the cordelière would be inserted. However, it could easily be modified to work for a bag with one row of holes. I used #10 thread and a 1.65mm steel hook for a bag approximately 6.5" across. If your bag is a different width, you might want to add or subtract length from the 24" sc sections.

Construction of cordelière:
Make a chain 15 feet long (no, really). Turn, skip the chain next to the hook and make 1 sc in each ch. until the work measures 24 in. Without breaking thread, make another chain, long enough to reach within 24 in. of the beginning of first chain made. Make 1 sc in each ch. to the end. You should now have a piece consisting of two approx. 24 in. sc ends with approx. 11 feet of double chain between (around 15 feet total).

Using a large hook (I used an “I” hook) and leaving the first sc section as a “tail,” using both strands of the double chain as one thread, crochet that loooong section of double chain into a single crochet chain, fastening off when you reach the other sc section. You should now have two 24 in. sc sections with a thick chain in the middle.

Small balls (make 4):
Chain 4 and join in a ring. Make 8 sc in the ring. Do not join, as the balls are worked around and around, both threads of stitch being taken up.
Second round: put 2 sc in each stitch of preceding round. 16 st.
Make four more rounds of 16 sc.
Make two rounds, skipping every third stitch on each round.
Fill with cotton and make two more rounds, skipping every other stitch.
Draw up with one sc, chain 10* and fasten off.

(*for second ball of each pair, ch 3, catch 4th ch. of first ball, ch 6)

Slip balls (make 2):
Chain 6 and join in a ring, 12 sc in the ring.
Second round: 2 sc in each stitch. Make six more rounds of 24 sc.
Make 2 rounds, skipping every third stitch. Fasten off, but leave a long end of thread.

Slide one slip ball onto each sc section and move it up towards the thick chain so it’s out of the way. Now, starting on one side of the bag, thread one end (sc section) through the bottom loops. Alternating over and under, go all the way around the bag and come out where you started. Even out the two ends of the sc section you just threaded through so that they’re about equal length.

Now, starting on the opposite side of the bag and using the upper row of holes, do the same thing with the sc section at the other end of the thick chain. After that's done, one each side of the bag, you should have two lengths of sc emerging - one attached to the thick chain and one hanging loose.

Slip each remaining loose end through its respective slip ball and attach firmly to the thick chain. Slide the slip balls over the join, fill them with cotton.** If necessary, draw them closed using the long thread-end, Anchor the top in place. Fasten two small balls to the bottom of each slip ball (I actually fastened mine to the chain inside the ball, but it's up to you).

Now engage in your favorite celebratory activity because, after 30 feet of chain and all that other hoo-haw, you deserve it!

** I recommend cotton instead of fiberfill. Just get some real cotton balls. Cotton, being denser, is slightly easier to work with. Fiberfill is hard to get a grip on in such tiny amounts.