Friday, October 29, 2010

Hey, it's Friday!

Wow, the last couple of days have been a little crazy. There was much nursing involved for a very sick Pony Girl, poor little lamb. I will say that she is the most remarkable sick child I have ever seen. Whilst feeling poorly, looking a very peculiar shade of gray/green and carrying around her "just in case" bucket, she was singing sweet songs and telling me not to worry. She has always remained in the best of spirits when ill, such a trooper. She is back in school today, finding staying home with Mama to be "too boring!" So glad to see she is her perky self again.

Also, I have to mention how overwhelmed I have been with the response to my crochet 'Mary Go Round' tutorial. You really have made me blush with all your nice comments and cheering on, thank you. I have read so many lovely words from a bunch of new folks, it makes my heart skippy happy. This I know is in great deal thanks to the amazing Michelle of The Royal Sisters and Loving the Vintage. I am so honored that she took the time to work up a few of my 'Mary Go Rounds' in her own wonderful way, as she is truly a talent of the utmost kind! She even did a lovely post over on her blog about them. Please go take a look at her gorgeous wall of spring cheer over HERE! Thank you Michelle, you have been such an inspiration and a lovely friend.

As for me, I took a little break from the hook and yarn to play with felt and some creatures great and small. Making up a couple of new journals for my little shop. I do love a Dala Horse, and of course - who can resist a deer diary? "Oh little deer wont you please come here and let me tell you a story..."
I'm thinking these journals would be perfect indeed for writing down all one's Big Ideas!
I have some big ideas myself but, there is a mountain of laundry to climb before I can get to them.

Have a glorious weekend friends, I do hope you get to spend some time with your Big Ideas!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lola Wants You!

Thank you all for your wonderful and encouraging comments on my 'Mary Go Round' Tutorial yesterday! It got me thinking about how much I would love to see what you come up with if you give it a try so... I have just started up a flickr group called Lola Nova made by You It's a group for you talented and lovely folks to post pictures of things you have made with one of my tutorials or patterns. Just to your right on my sidebar there, is a list of my tutorials under the heading, "Make it Yourself!" If you have given any of these a try in the past I would love it if you would share your projects on the group.

Thanks all and have a grand day!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mary Go Round crochet flower ring tutorial

Well, here we are, my first crochet tutorial! This is ever so exciting. I keep finding new ways to use these 'Mary Go Rounds'. I've just discovered they make the most whimsical little picture frames. And of course they can be worn as bracelets for the daring and discerning fashion forward among us.

I am including a whole lot of photos in this tutorial hoping they will be a help and not a hindrance.

Let's get down to business shall we?

* A bit of yarn in a color that makes you happy ( I have used mostly odds and ends of worsted medium weight)

* Your trusty crochet hook ( I used an H/8 - 5.00mm hook)

* A stitch marker (optional)

* A bracelet that you are ready to upcycle into a bit of crochet loveliness. It should be a stiff, non-flexible material - plastic/metal/wood etc. ( I raided Pony Girl's dress up box, the local junk store and thrift. Just some very cheap costume jewelry, keep an eye out at yard sales too.) The more plain the bracelet the better.

Techniques Used: I am using US crochet terms, for UK Terms click here
* Slip Stitch (sl st)
* Chain Stitch (ch)
* Single Crochet Stitch (sc)
* Double Crochet Stitch (dc)
* Tying Off and Sewing In Ends
All photos can be clicked on to enlarge

Begin by attaching your yarn to your hook with a Slip Knot.

Round 1
Attach the yarn to the bracelet with a Slip Stitch

Chain 1, this counts as your first Single crochet stitch. (If you are using a stitch marker, this chain is where you would stick it.)

Begin working Single crochet stitches into the ring/bracelet.

Continue with the Single crochet stitch around the bracelet. Work 48 Single crochet. Including your beginning chain, this makes 49 stitches (sc).

As you go, slide your stitches close together so there are no gaps where the bracelet shows through. Adjust the top of your stitches to the outside of the bracelet as you work.

Once you have your 49 sc, join the round with a Slip stitch into your first chain.

Round 2
Chain 3, this counts as your first Double crochet.

Work 1 Double crochet into the next stitch, continue working 1 Double crochet into each stitch of the first round. 49 dc including beginning ch 3.
Straighten your work as you go.

At the end of round 2, I count my stitches to make sure I have 49 including my beginning ch 3.
Join the round with a Slip stitch into the 3rd chain of your beginning ch 3.

Round 3
*Skip 2 stitches, then Double crochet 7 times into the next stitch.

Skip 2 stitches, then Slip stitch into the next stitch.*

Repeat this this pattern - between ** around the bracelet.

You will be working 8 shell clusters in all. Join the round with a slip stitch into your beginning stitch.

Tye off yarn and sew/weave in loose ends. What a sweet 'Mary Go Round' you've made!

I hope that this tutorial is clear. If you have any questions, or notice that I have made a mistake, please let me know. If you decide to make a 'Mary Go Round' or 6 (they are addictive) I would love to see!

This would work on rings of different sizes too. I have tried it on a smaller and larger ring. Working your first round in multiples of 7 stitches seems to be the key for getting the shell edging to work out.

Happy making!

Lin, a reader, sent this comment which has a helpful correction in my pattern. Thanks Lin!
If you change the size, it should be by adding or subtracting a multiple of 6, not a multiple of 7.

In the original, you have eight sets of six stitches - you skip the first two; double crochet into the next one; skip two and slip stitch into the next one.

You usually don't count the turning chain as a stitch - I think that's where the confusion comes from since it gives you 49 stitches instead of 48. 6 x 8 = 48.

In most patterns, you just need to count the number of stitches you used in the previous row to make your repeat to produce the design. Then add that number to the beginning chain. If you want it smaller, you subtract that number from the chain.

Edited to add: I attached the pictures to the frames by gluing them to a slightly larger circle of felt, I then hand stitched the felt to the back of the crochet frame.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hello Monday - Mary Go 'Round

This weekend as the clouds gathered and drops began to fall, a pumpkin haired Annie kept popping to mind as I sang, "Here comes the rain again..." We had some lovely weather this October, sunny and bright fall days that I am very grateful for. I think it's here though, the rainy season.

With the rain, my apparent obsessive need for crocheting in circles has returned. What is it about hooking 'round and 'round that calls to me? Is it some meditative practice, like chanting a mantra over and over? Perhaps I should crochet myself a mandala, ooh now there's a thought! Hang on a sec' while I jot that down in my "Book of Big Ideas".

This weekend, whilst doing a quick tidy, I picked up one of Pony Girl's dress up bracelets that had seen better days. It was such a forlorn little thing, I was about to toss it in the bin, when I had a change of heart and an idea.

Out came hook and yarn, had a quick bit of mental preparation, found a cozy spot on the sofa...and I was off! Soon I was crocheting crowns for pumpkins, rings around posies, circles of flower power, creating the next craze in couture accessories... 'Good Heavens!' I thought, why these are just a treat and useful for so many things!
Really, I do think that they would make a stunning garland and a very sweet ornament that makes up quick like a bunny for holiday gifts.

I thought perhaps some of you crafty folk might like to have a go at these sweeties.. So, tomorrow I am going to do something I have never done before. I am going to post a crochet tutorial! I am going to show you how to make one of these "Mary Go 'Rounds" for yourself. (Named for Mary, one of my first childhood friends. We used to play 'flower shop' in the forest everyday until dark. We would pick wildflowers and weave them into tree branches. We made bouquets of wild iris, columbine, fern and salmon berry. We never had a customer but, we loved our flower shop in the woods.)

I hope I get it right and I hope you will come back tomorrow and give it a try!

Friday, October 22, 2010

C'mon join the fun!

So, it's Friday and I'm all outta ideas. I know, it's time for another weekly self portrait thing! Man, I gotta come up with a catchy name for this experiment, any suggestions? Also, considering some of the comments and reactions I received on my introductory post about this, I think that some of you should join me! C'mon, you know you want to, it's easy, it's fun, and it's good for you! We could pick which day of the week we would post our pictures, it could be done on our blogs or I could start a flickr group or...ooh, we could pick a theme or a keyword for each portrait and, and...
Well contrary to my first sentence, it seems I am indeed full of ideas. Or maybe just full of the dickens!

Anyway, some things I learned about that first photo foray into self discovery were:
1. I have more gray hair than I realized.
2. For every passable shot there are at least 20 others that are ridiculous.
3. I was reminded of the words from an 80's Camper Van Beethoven song, "you know, you really shouldn't take yourself so seriously. If you want to know why, it's 'cause no one else does."
4. Have fun.

So, in the spirit of the last two, here is this weeks self portrait. It's all about the silly.
This was actually intended to be a lighting test, not a true shot. There is no editing but for a little cropping. Just me, no make up, a funny hat, a poofy skirt and a guitar. It is not a good shot from a photography standpoint, it isn't clever in the least but, it gave me a chuckle. And the guitar isn't just a prop, I actually do play but, there is absolutely no reason for it to be in the photo (other than it was on the bed at the time). I do love the morning light that comes through our bedroom window.
To see this photo on black click HERE.

Well, like I said, you should join me, really!

Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Well, looks like I went with the pants for Pony Girl. I had to, the situation was dire. A five year old with a serious lack of pants, with winter coming on... something had to be done.

Pony Girl is an odd fit when it comes to pants. Store bought doesn't cut it. And my last foray into pant making went slightly askew so, I had to try again.

I used a lovely stretch cotton by Moda Fabrics and gorgeous ribbon from Farbenmix along with a few other trims for embellishment. They have been Pony Girl approved.

And as you can see, I did find a way to work on a little hooky goodness by way of a flower charm for the pants!

Now, there are 2 big bags of apples that need attending to in my kitchen!
Have a lovely day.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hello Monday - Crafty Pile Up

This crisp fall Monday morning I have a lot to think about. I have set aside time to work, to craft, to create. Trouble is, there is a mess of projects waiting their turn for my attention. Like the improv piecing in the photo above, that is something I would like to work on.

There is the stuff I should work on...

The stuff I need to work on...

...and the stuff I really want to work on...

So what's it gonna be, pants for Pony Girl or, playing hooky?

What have you got going on?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Another roadside attraction

Today was 52 Kindergarten kids in the cold wet muddy pumpkin patch. A long noisy riotous bus ride. A cat vomit incident. A big bad wolf named Ruby who broke into our yard and tried to eat our chickens. An hour and a half crawling through bushes calling "Here chook chook chooks!" A laundry debacle and a very tired Lola.
And then it happened, a little grace was granted and I found a perfectly pleasant picnic basket of the vintage variety, and a Pyrex lovely loaf pan in turquoise ...on the side of the road. Free. Yup, I needed that little pick me up.

Here's hoping you have a weekend full of little graces.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Taking a good hard look at myself

First, I would like to thank you for leaving the loveliest comments on my last post. It was something written down on a whim, to help me remember a sweet flash in time, a Mama moment. I was touched by your words and thoughts. I wanted to reply to all of you but, there were less sweet moments needing attention and I could not quite keep up. Just know you have put a wee skip in my get-along.

Now for something completely different...

Yup, that's me. A whole lot of me.
It is extremely hard to take photos of oneself I've discovered. The old 'arms length routine' makes you look dour, when really you're just trying to keep from dropping the camera. It seems near impossible to not capture a sad, angry, or constipated look...and when you try to look happy or joyful, you merely come out looking insane. There are a few 'pleasant' looking photos, where you turn out the perfect 'back jacket author photo'...of a New Age Mystery novel. Or, there is that one that would make the perfect cover for a Joan Baez Tribute album. And there is no such thing as a 'candid' self portrait.

What is harder still, is showing said photos to the world. Yikes! So why am I doing it? A few of you have asked me to but, that is not the sole reason. You see, about a year ago I had this little thought. It was not particularly original, and it was rather silly. The thought kept popping up and so, well here we go.

For the next few months I will be taking a self portrait a week. It's a project, an experiment really. I will most likely post these pictures to my flickr pages. It is a challenge I have oddly set for myself, and so beyond my comfort zone. Part photography lesson, part daring myself to do something different, and part taking a good hard look at myself. To see if I can see myself, or something cosmic like that. All of the above photos were taken on the same day at different times.

I don't know how long the experiment will last, most likely until I discover that deep down I'm a narcissist and run away with myself or, until I grow weary of it. I may miss some weeks but, I'm not too strict on these things. I feel slightly terrified and completely ridiculous but, I'm doing it anyway.

and Cath, this one's for you!