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Below is a photo of the completed Viceroy butterfly.

As I was looking at the setting, I realized that the scene incorporates several of my crocheted projects-the English Rose tablecloth of Curio from KnitPicks; the last of my crocheted Iris, after making an arrangements for each of my children, and the butterfly, using metallic sewing threads.

It actually floored me to think of the hours that went into each project; however, each hour was challenging, and rewarding. It also seems to bring a smile from those that pause at the table, leading to many an interesting conversation.

So.. back to the sewing threads, my CraftOptics glasses, and practicing the gift of patience.

Just sharing-KT

The Viceroy butterfly looks similar to the Monarch, but they are not in the same family. This version is constructed entirely with “Basketweave St. No “hand “stitching was use to make the white markings on the wing. The top wing span here is about 3 inches, twice the size of the actual butterfly. A “giant” version, if you will. And.. since it is art…. I made the dimensions large enough to make the details doable.

It took me about 2 weeks to do this much, but that was spread out, as I only work about one half hour at a time; that schedule keeps me from being uncomfortable. Yes, it is intense work, but the rewards are great, and my new CraftOptic glasses and light are a life saver. Without them this work would be impossible.

Just sharing- KT

A few adjustments to the bottom wings and we are good to go.

This has been quite an undertaking, but well worth my time. The entire project was made using the Basketweave stitch. I used a 12 by 15 styrofoam cooler to send it in, as it gave all the elements plenty of room to move without being crushed, and the ring was safely wedged to the inside recess designed for the lid. My son said it arrived in perfect shape.

Now it is time to make one for my daughter. The next one with be a giant Morpho. Their iridescent blue top and pattern underside make for an interesting challenge. Their wing span of 8 inches also make them more doable, especially in the ten inch ring.

This is definitely going to be a fun project. As always I start with a graphic of what I have in mind. Unlike the first Morpho, which was done in regular crochet stitches, this one will be done with the Basketweave stitch.

The above image is just for starters, but at least it gives me a reference as to size and shape.

Wish me patience!!!

KT

As I was working on my current project I found myself have to rig up some kind of tension stablizer for working with my metallic threads. My solution?

T-pins

By running my 2 threads through the head of the pin(which I can position anywhere), it helps keep them together and makes crocheting with them much more smooth.

As you can see above, I use double pointed needles for spool carriers. The thread on each spool is then fed through the top of the T-pin and positioned near the 2 spools. Next, I repeat the process and position the second T-pin near the edge of my working surface, hopefully freeing the threads from catching on any of my other “stuff.”

You can use as many as you like to get the job done.

I find this works rather well, so I wanted to share it with you before I forgot.

Happy knitted (or crocheting)

KT

Tools of the Trade

Most of us are familiar with the needles and hooks of crocheting and knitting, but some of the best tools are those that help us “see” what is going on between our “stix and strings.” Because this subject is often neglected until we reach our mature years, I thought it might be useful to share my discovery in this area.

Since I am currently working with size 80 threads, and size .60-.90 hooks, my best “buddy” has become my pair of CraftOptic glasses, with an attached “Dream Beam” light.

CraftOptics

craftoptics.com

Why, special glasses-

  1. Takes strain off eyes
  2. Takes strain off neck
  3. Helps with hiding the ends more efficiently
  4. Makes the project much more fun and less work.

These wonderful glasses are prescription lenses, with telescopes built on the glasses that can be lifted at any time. The Dream Beam, has a high and low setting.

Monarch Butterfly

When I am using the metallic threads of gold, I use the low setting, as it keep the glare of the thread down. When I work with the #80 black, I use the high setting, and I can see every stitch.

This gives you an idea of the size of the wing.

I absolutely could not do this comfortably without these glasses.

Check them out for yourself-just click on the link above opposite the first picture.

Yes, they are not cheap, but they are worth every dime I spent, and the staff has been great, and very helpful. Once you purchase the glasses, they will change the prescription for reasonable fee.

Hope this post is helpful- KT

My Christmas Cardinal

Below is a photo of the Red Cardinal I crocheted for my Christmas tree.

This has been more than a months project, with many stops and starts, but well worth the time. For many of you this might seem an overwhelming task, but for me it has been nothing but joy.

Here you can see the detail on the tail and back.

I have contemplated writing a pattern, but that really isn’t possible, because there are so many variables. That said, however, I can give you the general idea.

  1. A picture of the bird you want to create( I find them on the web). Get all the facts of the birds size. This takes a bit of research, but the info is out there.
  2. Bring the photo into whatever publishing software you have on your pc. Outline the body, wings and tail. Remove the original picture, save all the sections as one unit, then size the bird image to the size you need.
  3. Print off the image.
  4. Working with the image, create you body, then the wings and tail.
  5. Use floral wire to stabilize the wings and tail sections

You can see in the photo above what I mean by working with the image. It is the only way I have found that works, at least for me. You will notice that the body has Poly-fil stuff in the head and body. I fill it as I go to make sure it has the right shape. I simply pull it out when I am satisfied, then continue on.

The detail for this Cardinal, was created with a single strand of sliver embroidery thread and a single strand of grey sewing thread.

The Basketweave stitch that I posted on my website, was the main stitch for the construction of the wings and tail. The body was constructed with a SC stitch, using the back loops only.

I used size 20 crochet thread, and 1.25 hook for the main body, wings and tail, with the addition of a single red iridescent embroidery thread. The additional thread gives it a little shine, and is picked up by the Christmas lights on the tree. I also use it( the spool on the extreme left of the photo) to add a bit of sparkling color to the crown of the head.


In this photo you can see the black pearls I inserted for eyes. I love the highlight in the black, The peak is constructed separately.

Fun! Fun! Fun!

Merry Christmas to ALL!!!

KT

Crocheted Peace Dove

There is no time like the up coming Christmas holidays to bring out the creative spirit in all of us. This year I have decided to create a White Dove ornament for my Christmas tree.

Basic structure is created with 26 and 30 gauge wire, #20 crochet thread with number 6 (4), hook and a sytro ball in the main body. The inserted beads are from Knitpicks (#6, rainbow clear).

This dove is actually about one half scale. My research information said that they are 12 in from tip to tip, and have up to a 18 inch wing span. They are part of the pigeon family.

I hope this inspires you to start thinking about what you can create.

Happy knitting/crocheting

Kweaker

It is just off the needles and lightly pressed. I will be blocking it next week with a touch of sizing on the edges. What I am excited about is that I was able to create what finished edge that I wanted.

I will, of course, be able to make the circle more exact, and the points even when I block it, but even at that it doesn’t look to bad.

Just had to share.

Happy knitting- KT

I idea of having to taking out stitches because of a mistake you can’t live with, or maybe just changing you mind, can be a daunting task.  However, it can also be an instructive one.

I have been sharing the process of knitting my English Rose tablecloth with you in the previous posts, so I thought I would share the “tinking ” lessons I learned when  I decided to extend the double rose leaf portion of the pattern.  I had to take out my extended rose leaves, and then about 12 rounds of the previous pattern to restart an additional set of the double leaves pattern.  I also knew that I would have to adjust the pattern as there were only five sets of the double leaves in the original version.

Tinking Lessons– Lay your work on a table where it will have no stress on the stitches, especially if you have not done this before.  As for me, I pulled my coffee table up to my favorite chair to share the weight of the work.

Take it out from the wrong side, working right to left, holding the thread/yarn in your right hand as you would for knitting English style(throwing the yarn).

  1.  Use your left index finger and thumb to pinch just below the stitches or stitch groups to prevent them flying off the needle.
  2. Use the index finger of the right hand to gently lift the thread/yarn up to release the knitted stitches.
  3.  Use a clockwise rotation of the right needle tip to pick off the stitches.
  4.  Use smaller size circle needles.   I knitted with a 2.75, so I used 2.0 or below to tink with because it allowed me to see the stitches and the path of the thread/yarn more easily.
  5.  Remove the 2 legs of a “knit 2 together” by inserting the needle from back to front, lifting the index finger of the right hand slowly, as you pinch the base of the group of stitches with the left hand thumb and index finger. (See photo below)
  6.  Stitch groups such as YO, Sl 1, K 2 tog, psso, are processed the same as a K 2 tog, except that when you release the stitch group you need to rotate you left have forward to pick up the third stitch of the group.
  7.  Stitch groups as SSK, Sl, 1 K 1, psso;  Sl 2, K 1, psso, (left leaning) just require you to insert the right needle from back to front before you lift the yarn with the right hand to release the group.
  8. Relax, don’t look at the clock.  When you finish your project you will be proud of it.

In this photo I am getting ready to pick up a K 2 tog.

Above, I have identified a sl 1, K 1, psso.

In this photo, you can see that I inserted my needle from back to front.  I will proceed by placing my thumb and index finger below the stitch group and then gently raise the yarn up with my right hand index finger.

  •  If for any reason the stitches come off out of order, you can simple keep the pressure on the “pinch” you have in your left hand, then fix the position of the stitches.  As long as you have secured the base, the stitches are not going anywhere.
  • If you are in double about the needles position, tip the area of concern toward you with the left hand.  At a look at the right side.

Happy “Tinking”  – KT

One more thing-  I found that dividing my tablecloth into smaller segments and knitting my circles in rounds( knitting off one end to the other), allowed me to deal with less bulk at a time.  Also, the stitches were not crammed together on one 60 inch needle.  I now have the tablecloth on three 60 inch needles.  It also gives me the opportunity to lay it out on the table to see the results of my additions to the pattern.

And, yes…… I am writing it down.

 

I mentioned in my last post, that I was thinking about designing a different edge, or finishing round for my English Rose tablecloth.  What you see in the about photo is that new design.

I wanted my last rose leaf to be free and overshadowed by the busy background lace. As a result,  I worked out the following method to individualize the leaves.

I began by working each leaf individually, as you would with straight needles, adding the connecting sts to only the right side edge of the leaf.  Using a spare 24 in circle needle of the same size, I then picked up the corresponding stitches for the left side of the leaf, and proceeded working across the “bridge” (connecting pattern stitches), to the next rose leaf.

Even though this is a bit of work, I find that using my extra 47 inch circles of lesser size work perfectly as carrier needles.  I pick up each completed unit on these needles, (about 3 leaves to a needle). This allows me to free up the stitches on the main 60 inch that I am using for the body of the tablecloth.

I do think that this process could be used for various shapes you might want to incorporate into designing an special edging.  As long as the work is supported on the “carrier” needles, they are easy to pick up when you are ready to finish the final rounds.

One thing I did do, was to use a different color needle tips for my needles; blue for the main/working needle, and purple for my  carrier needles; that way there is no doubt which one to pick up.

In the photo above, I am set up with my main (blue) needle tips to begin a new leaf.

When I complete the 40 leaves, I will knit all the stitches back on to my main needle, then finish the edge.

For those who might be interested, I am going to writing up a tutorial for this edging, and will upload it when I am done.

 

Happy Knitting- KT