Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Crochet as Therapy


Taking care of one's mental hygiene is of crucial importance especially in these stressful times where there seems to be no end to the covid, and the shift in our lives has taken a dramatic turn.  

It has been scientifically proven that any crafts (crochet / knitting / DIY projects) have an incredibly beneficial effect on mental health. Crocheting makes people calmer, happier, more relaxed and better able to focus. What makes crochet a yoga for the mind is that it allows us to become completely immersed in the present moment and makes us achieve mindfulness, giving the mind a break from worries about the past / future, thus allowing the brain and body to rejuvenate, refresh and reset themselves. 

Most important benefits of crochet:

1) relieves depression and fights insomnia

2) reduces stress, anxiety and restlessness

3) reduces and postpones dementia 

4) boosts confidence and self-esteem  

Crochet for me has a great therapeutic effect. Being a teacher is not only exhausting, but stressful as well. Coming home to a crochet project and diving into lovely stitches and patterns lets me unload the burden of the day and unwind. The beautiful projects that emerge from these crochet sessions are even more rewarding and fulfilling.

How do you feel about crochet (or any other craft you do)? Does it help?

Monday, May 10, 2021

Artist Spotlight: Josefina Jiménez


One thing will never change. And that is: "you show me flowers, and I am all sold!"
That is how I came upon an extremely talented lady called Josefina Jiménez
 
Jo, as she introduces herself to the world, is a Chilean (mixed media) artist and illustrator. What draw me immediately to her work is her incredible artistry in creating embroidered flower motifs onto a previously painted canvas. What is also impressive is that she boldly explores colors and textures, as well as employing other materials as a "canvas" to pour over her creative genius.

Take a glimpse of her colorful world on Instagram
 

 

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Course Reminder


Earlier this week I posted about the course I am teaming up to commence with Class 101, so if you missed it, here's a short summary:

What will the course be about? 

This course teaches  how to master crochet stitches, patterns and techniques and turn them into a valuable tool to make jewelry, accessories and home decor, with the emphasis being on creating romantic projects with a sprinkle of vintage and a shower of charm. The most important thing is that interested parties will get to shape the curriculum on the basis of their skills and interests.

The course will commence if it attracts 200 followers, so I would appreciate your support by clicking the FOLLOW button on this link. By clicking the follow button, you just show your interest and /or support. It does not require any payment. You will be sent a short (1 min.) survey which will help me define the curriculum.

Thank you for you support! 

I just posted a short video for some ideas for the course. Watch it here

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Granny Squares for Apparels

                                                               Image by Honeybea.ca

I have repeatedly confessed here about my never ending love with granny squares.  How could one not love them when they bring immense satisfaction when making your home a warm and welcoming nest?

In a post I shared a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Afghans in TV Shows - most of them being granny squares. However, the granny squares, although being very popular for blankets and afghans, have transcended their original use and spread far and wide into other lifestyle realms with an adorable twist. 

 Image by Rowan (Designer Lisa Richardson)

My inspiration for this post is an ongoing granny project - a cardigan or a bolero (still cannot make up my mind about its future status). I've become increasingly interested in using grannies to make clothes - in fact I made a top a couple of years ago, but now I am into making more elaborate garments. The sad truth is that they require a lot of time to be made, a luxury I cannot brag I have enough of. 

But my old soul flutters upon seen granny dresses and cardies. Especially, well constructed and designed as these here in my post. 

What are your thoughts on this?

Image by Free People
 
 
 
 
 Image by Ibizabohogirl

Monday, May 3, 2021

Learn Romantic Crochet with Me


Hi guys! I have some exciting news to share!

I am teaming up with Class 101 in creating an online video course on Romantic crochet, and the course just went live!

What is the course about? 

This course will teach you how to master crochet stitches, patterns and techniques and turn them into a valuable tool to make your jewelry, accessories and home decor, with the emphasis being on creating romantic projects with a sprinkle of vintage and a shower of charm.

By the end of this course you will have numerous projects finished and you will gain the confidence and skills to start designing your own crochet jewelry, accessories and home decor. 

 Sign up for the course



How does it work? 

Sign up for the course (click on the FOLLOW button). Signing up does NOT require any payment or other info.   

By signing up you receive 25% off which you'll be able to use when the course starts, and you will be offered a survey that will help me shape up the curriculum to better suit your needs and interest.  Completing the survey will gain you an additional 5% off. 

However, the work on the course will not commence until I get 200 followers. 

 Sign up for the course

I am immensely excited to dive into teaching crochet online and would love to have you as followers.

If you have any questions about the course, please share them in the comments. 


Friday, April 30, 2021

Peony Necklace - pattern release


 
 
 
Tending to sound immodest, I must admit I love the look of my header. 
So one day, why looking at it, I said why not make a mock up of it. And that is how the Peony Necklace was born. 
I immensely enjoyed working on it, because peonies are my second best-loved flowers. I simply love their luxurious look.
 
The pattern is in my etsy / ravelry shops.
 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Crochet Rose Brooch - free pattern

 
If you are wondering what unique gift to crochet for Mother's Day - can I offer you this one? 
The rose brooch is very easy and fast to make. Once you make your first rose, you'll fall in love with the pattern. For this tutorial, I made the brooch with the same rose pattern, but used different sizes of hooks and yarn to get different sizes of roses.

 
The smallest rose is made with a #10 crochet thread and 1.7mm hook. The middle employs sport yarn and a 3 mm hook, while the biggest is made with DK yarn and a 4.00mm hook. For the leaves, vines and accents I used sport yarn (3.00mm hook). 
 
Stitches in American terminology: chain (ch), slip stitch (sl st), skip (sk), single crochet (sc), half double crochet (hdc), double crochet (dc), treble crochet (tr) 

Other materials: sewing needle and thread, tapestry needle, brooch pin and pearl beads (optional).
 
Size of brooch: 11cm (across at the widest point) and 13 cm (at the longest point)
 
Rose pattern:
Foundation and row 1: ch30 and hdc2 in 3rd st from hook. Sk1 and hdc3 in next st. Sk1 and dc2in next st, ch3 and sl st in that same st., sk1, sl st in next st and in that stitch ch3, dc2,ch3 and sl st (all in that same stitch). Sk1, sl st in next st. Ch3 and dc2 in the same stitch, next dc2 in the other st, ch3 and sl st in that second stitch. So here, we increased the petal pattern, spreading it over two stitches. Sk1 and repeat this pattern again. 
Next, sk1 and sl st in next st. Ch4 and tr2 in this st, tr2, ch4 and sl st in the next. Sk1 and sl st in next st. Ch4 and tr3 in this st, tr3, ch4 and sl st in the next. From here to the end, repeat this pattern (3x).  Leave a long tail which you'll use to sew the rose into shape. 
 
Make them in different sizes for versatility.
 
Shaping the rose: Take the smallest part of the rose (the center), and roll the other petals around it. The look of it can change drastically if you do it tightly or more loosely, so experiment a couple of times to get the desired look. Once you get that look, pin the rose in several places so that it doesn't unroll. Thread the tail into a tapestry needle and sew the rose, minding that you sew through all the petals on all sides. 
 
Forget-me-nots pattern:
 
 
Foundation and round 1: Ch5 and join with 1st chain to make a ring. sc5 in ring.
Round 2: *chain 4 and (in the 1st st) tr2, ch3 and make a sl st* (in that same stitch).Sl st into the next stitch and repeat the pattern from * to *. Make 5 such petals.      

Crochet leaves pattern:  
 

 Ch10, sl st in 1st st, sc1 in next, hdc1 in next, dc1 in next 3 sts, hdc1 in next, sc1 in next and sl st in the last st. Ch1 (we are going to work the other side of the leaf in reverse), and sl st in 1st st, next sc1, hdc1, dc1 in next 3 sts., hdc1, sc1 and sl st at the top.  One leaf made. Now ch12 for the other leaf. We added 2 stitches more which are to be left as are, and their purpose is to make folding the leaves easily one, slightly over the other. Repeat the leaf pattern for the second leaf.
 
Crochet vines pattern: 
 
For the vines, ch5 and sl st into 1st st (one small petal made), ch5 and sl st into 1st st of that 5-chain (second petal made). Repeat this pattern until you get desired length. (I made one 20 cm long and the smaller is 10 cm long). 
 
Accents:

 

For the accents, ch25 and tie both ends. Make as many as you'd like to have in your brooch.

Assembly: 

Make as many of the crochet parts as you like. Play and experiments with arrangements of the flowers, leaves and accents you've made. When you are satisfied with the look of your brooch, sew small parts together first, adding other parts as you go. For example, I always sew the leaves onto (or under the flowers first) then I add another flower (with leaf / accent) to the first, and slowly add up and join pieces one by one. When done, attach / sew a brooch pin at the back. You might want to add a felt / textile piece at the back to cover it before applying the pin. 

 

 
 
 I hope you enjoy making this brooch! Have fun!

Monday, April 26, 2021

Celebrate Mother's Day - gifts inspiration

 Important: this post contains affiliate links

Mother's Day celebrates motherhood and encompasses all generations of women in  a family. 

Celebrating Mother's day has its roots deep into the 16th century England. In those times, young girls and boys as well were often sent from home to work as maids and servants, and were given the 4th Sunday of Lent to return home to their mothers. So this became known as the "Mothering Sunday", when the family gathered around the mother, the eldest child brought "mothering cake" and children most often assumed household duties and prepared special lunch or dinner to honor their mother. 

Historians like to theorize that it was the return to the “mother” church that led to the tradition of children getting the day off to visit their mother and family. 

Whatever the case might be, it is a lovely day to celebrate your mother.

When it comes to gifts, and I think all mothers will agree, the greatest gift is to have your children around for the day. However, we like to pamper our mothers, so below are some ideas for gifts and activities to do on the day: 

 

1) Bring your mother cake and flowers

2) Do chores around the house or garden

3) Record a video with your kids, make a card or a little painting.

4) Make her a homemade gift (her favourite jam, organic soap, scented candles, lavender sachets, herbal vinegar, fruit juice). 

5) Buy an online class for her (art, pottery, cooking, jewelry making, etc.)

6) Buy an online subscription for a magazine Bella Grace, Art Journaling, Belle Armoire Jewelry.

Do you celebrate Mother's Day? What do you usually gift your (grand)mother?

Friday, April 23, 2021

Thread Crochet - Leafy Greenery

Well, I cannot tell you how addictive these spindly leaves turned out to be! I was trying to slightly alter the pattern for the leaves I used for the Strelizia, and make another catchy variation. In the picture you can see a set of earrings with them, in the simplest design there could be, accompanied by a rose brooch.

Now, with Mother's day coming soon, and you have no idea what to gift, you can make this rose as I am going to share the free pattern for it next week. 

Happy weekend!



Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Crochet Afghans in TV Shows

 Mad Man Afghan

Have you noticed how much TV shows' interior designers love to throw in a crochet blanket or an afghan on the sofa in the show's living room? 

I must admit I love that they do. And I am always on the lookout for such scenes not only in shows, but movies as well. I sometimes pause scenes as to have a better look at the stitch or pattern, lol!  I love that such crochet or knit pieces instantly give more coziness and warmth to the whole set. You immediately get the desire to curl up under one and just drift away!

            Mad Man Blanket 

Another thing that is interesting is that most of the times it is a granny square blanket. Some of the colorwork used in these is truly inspiring.

Friends Granny Blanket

 
Parks & Recreation Blanket
 

 Gilmore Girls Rose Afghan

Sadly, my living room is void of such gorgeousness. Hubs loves to take naps in the living room, which honestly drives me mad, but still I would love to make a granny blanket for his naps. As a project, it has been on my bucket list for almost an eternity. We have a woolen blanket with a Native-American print, which would be more suitable for a pioneer cabin or a cottage in the mountains rather than our living room, but we love it dearly. 

Do you have crocheted blankets in  your living room? Are you a fan of such blankets?

Monday, April 19, 2021

Batch Working for Maximum Productivity

 

Several years ago I came across the concept of batch working, and implementing it into my blog content creation has proven to be effective, more productive and rewarding. What is batch working? It is a highly-focused and topic-specific work, where you work on a previously assigned topic, limiting all distractions to a minimum for maximum productivity. 

How does it work for me? I have discovered that having photos of multiple projects for my blog made in advance greatly lessens the whole creating / writing of the posts, and leaves me with lots of free time to focus and concentrate fully on planning future blog content, which is another batch day.

So a batch day for me is usually at the weekend (mostly Saturdays-because I have a full time job) when I exclusively dedicate myself on shooting photos for all the posts I had previously drafted in my monthly blog calendar. I try to make at least two-weeks' coverage on such a batch day, and I must say the sense of accomplishment and fulfillment is overwhelming. 

Do you batch work? Any tips to share?

Friday, April 16, 2021

Butterfly Necklace



 Happy Friday friends! 

This has been one of those exhausting weeks, where one can only think about and yearn for the weekend! And now that Friday is here, I can only say - enjoy the weekend, fill your batteries and be creative!

See you all on Monday!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Wooden Floral Brooches


You are looking at the result of my "take a break" period. I am currently working on some larger projects (hint: a dress and a blouse - and yes I work on them simultaneously) that get tiresome, and to break myself from the spell, I love working on small projects with an immediate result. Feels rewarding and fulfilling.

Cue my miniature brooches. These, as you can see from the photo below, are quite small and tiny. All 8 flowers are different, set onto green foundations that pop out, decorated with different beads. They are placed onto wooden trays that measure 3.5 x 3.5 cm. 

Just the kind of refreshment I needed.

 

Monday, April 12, 2021

15 Blog Post Ideas for Crochet Bloggers

 
 

Constantly creating content for your crochet blog can sometimes be not only tiring and frustrating but daunting as well. More often than not, you are struggling with ideas of what to write about so as to keep your blog content fresh, interesting and engaging.

Blogging for more than a decade has gotten me into a very specific routine when it comes to creating blog content. I generally try to post three times a week, which means I have to have content prepared well in advance. I have a monthly schedule where I write down what I will post on a particular day ( I try to post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays), and mainly stick to the plan. Of course, this being one woman's show, many times posts get shuffled around for one reason or another, like for example, I haven't finished working on a piece, or it didn't turn out the way I imagined it so I have to redo it, the day was not good for taking photos, my model (daughter) was not available for photo-shoots, or life got in the way. 

When it comes to content creating, I generally stick to the above list. These can be broken down into many other categories / topics, so you'll see there are more than these 15 generic ideas. 

As a crochet designer I constantly add new patterns/ crochet design ideas, so that #1 is what keeps my small business going and most of the content is oriented around that.

I rarely post unfinished work on my blog, but people love seeing what other crocheters are currently working on, so you can show your WIPs as well as your studio / workplace. If you are like me, you'd love to peek into people's studios for inspiration. 

I always post sneak-peeks of my collections to kind of build interest in what is coming next. 

The topics that are sure to generate you more traffic and audience is sharing trends in crochet (bobbles being quite a rage recently), crochet tips, tricks and techniques, roundup of free patterns and tutorials. From my experience, posting roundups has attracted mind-boggling traffic, as people not only love free patterns, but they also love to (re)share them. As I said before, the topics for these can be broken down into several (sub)categories: home decor (pillows, wall hangings, rugs, etc), holiday crochet (Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving), accessories (neck, arms, head), etc. 

I have never met a crocheter who doesn't love to look at new yarn, admire color combinations and think of future projects. Share your newly acquired yarn with ideas what you are going to make with it. Yarn organizational / storage tips and ideas are always appreciated. 

Another very productive way to gain new followers and increase traffic is collaboration with another crochet designer, whether in a form of a guest post or interview / feature. Next, write about your favourite crochet magazines and what you love about them. Always post if you have been featured in one. 

Aside for the blog ideas posted in my list, I use several I haven't mentioned above, which come out sporadically but are very effective, and those are the following: How to read crochet charts, Crochet on the Runway, What I Have Pinned Lately, Crochet Inspiration/ Mood Boards, Last Minute Gifts, Mix & Match


I hope you find this post inspirational and I would love if you could share your  blog content ideas in the comments.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Golden Hour Cuff - crochet pattern release

 
 

The first cuff of my spring / summer collection bears a lovely name - the golden hour. It is the hour of the day when the light makes the landscape magical. 
I used the color mix from my inspirational board for this one.  
 
The pattern with all its technicalities is in my etsy and ravelry shops. 

 



Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Minute Crochet Jewelry - Strelizia

 
I made a small batch of minute crochet jewelry for my spring/summer collection and though working with crochet thread and small hooks is extremely straining, I love the looks of lace jewelry made with thread, so the effort put forth was worth the trouble. 
I made these inspired by the Birds of Paradise flower (Strelizia) and there are several variations in both design and colors. 
This set is made of a pair of earrings and a necklace. The crochet elements are glued on decorative trays, which I was reluctant to try at first, but it seems that has worked out beautifully as well.