Personal History: Very Old Original Patterns

Looking through Old Original Patterns is such a treat. It can date and document your progress. One of the things I was taught with my crochet, right from the start, was to keep copies of any changes I made to published patterns. And DEFINITELY write down what I was doing when creating something without a pattern. At first this felt like a pesky step. I remember it was a pair of socks that taught me a lesson. The first sock was perfect, the second sock never looked good. From that point on I always wrote down what I was doing. I had a nice index card box and 5 x 7 index cards. 44 years later, I can still find the old pattern ideas. Unlike my computer I’ve never had an index card box crash, never gotten an index card virus, and no company needs to update my index cards. All of my old original patterns are still there and still filled with scribbles and notes. They may be old, simplistic and well loved, but I can still make the items from yesteryear.

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Jump forward to a few days ago:

Spring in New Mexico equals WINDS in the afternoon. I was outside trimming the suckers away from my lilac bushes, the wind was blowing and my hair kept getting in my eyes (learn more here: https://artistsandymarie.wordpress.com/2018/03/23/lilac-bushes-care-for-them/). I looked down at my shadow and it looked like Medusa. Do you think I could find a headband? I looked every place and didn’t find a one. All I can think of is that they (some how) didn’t move with me. So, I needed to sit down and crochet one.

Now I’ve been making this ‘style’ for 44 years (that ages me). I don’t have to look at a pattern to do it. So I just sat down and started crocheting. The next morning I shared my finished headband picture with my facebook group. That’s when it became important to find the original index card. I went through the index card box of old original patterns, and TADA, I found it. The picture above is the old pattern complete with updates, smears, crimps, and yellowing. I do remember learning the Mattress Stitch about 30 years ago, and it also looks like that’s when I dated the card (1974).

The headband I made is a “tight” one. I wanted total hair control while working outside.

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There’s nothing fancy about it. No pretty flowers, no cool pictures, and no elaborate stitches. Well … I do use extended double crochet now, when doing filet crochet, because this stitch stands up straighter (double crochet tends to lean a bit). But this headband gives me total hair control, and is great for working outside in the yard. Plus it only takes me about 3 – 4 hours to crochet one.

I’m going to be adding more headbands as I sure can’t find my other ones. This is a great evening pass time.

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Inspiration: A Vase For My Lilacs

When I started trimming the suckers away from my lilac bushes I was inspired to create a vase for my lilacs. You can read more about the inspiration (and learn how to care for lilac bushes) here: https://artistsandymarie.wordpress.com/2018/03/23/lilac-bushes-care-for-them/.

Because I knew this would be holding real flowers, and I needed something that would hold water, I instantly knew it had to be a lined vase. I use the lining process for anything that I really want to ‘use’, anything that will hold liquid or food items. I also didn’t want round, round just felt boring to me. So I decided on something that was a little more squared, with rounded edges.

In the picture below you can see the bottom of the vase. It ended up looking more like an octagon but that’s okay with me. The technique I used was elaborated from a technique I created several years ago. I called the technique “Connected Squares” (free lesson on my Website: https://www.moms-crochet.com/connected-squares.html). The idea behind the process is that each little square is connected as you crochet (all but the last one). What this does is pull the piece into more of a square shape. If you crochet you know that, often, your rows and stitches DO NOT match. So in order to get a square you need to either adjust the stitches or the rows. For flat pieces this is usually okay. But a VASE is not flat. I needed even stitches and rows to make this work.

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Once I had the size of vase I wanted, I needed to go to work on making leaves and flowers. The leaves weren’t a problem at all. I did go looking for patterns for lilac flowers (why recreate something, when I can just help to support other artists), but the flowers I found were either WAY to large, or VERY complicated. For a vase the flowers had to be close to actual size, and NOT complicated (I want to have the vase ready for this year, lol).

I’ve been trying to create lilac flowers for well over a year. I had the same problem. All my flowers were either to big and bulky (ugly), or to difficult. While I was trimming the lilac bush suckers I said (sort of to the bush, sort of to myself), “Pretty soon I’m going to love your beautiful, simple, little flowers.”

Wait: Simple Little Flowers.

I had an idea (I dropped the rake right there and dashed back inside), I grabbed my hook and yarn and (without even sitting down) I crocheted the simple little flowers that would look great on my vase for my lilacs. Honestly, lilacs are one of those tiny little flowers that only Mother Nature can create with great detail. But I now had the size, color, and shape that would look beautiful on my vase.

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PS: I did go back outside and pick my rake back up, lol.
PPS: Yes this will be a pattern, that will also teach the lining technique, but first I need to finish the vase to make sure it all works. I’ll most likely post again so you can watch the creation.

Lilac Bushes: How To Care For Them

I think I’ve mentioned that I have 3 Lilac Bushes, 2 Cherry Trees, 1 Apple Tree, Scads of Wild Roses, and lots of other interesting plants. The biggest problem is that this yard has not been touched (not even mowed) for about 7 years now. As a result everything is over grown and needs serious attention to bring it back to beautiful. I’ve already started chopping wild roses (to get rid of some of the thorns), cutting some large tree limbs (so I don’t get beheaded while walking around) and cleaning TRASH, TRASH, TRASH that’s blown in and stuck around for a long time. I picked up one old, plastic bottle that had an expiration date of 2010 (yikes).

Here’s a picture to give you an idea of what I’m up against.

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This is one side of my front yard. On the right side of the picture are (trust me) 2 lilac bushes. There’s one big bush on the left side of the picture that I have no idea what it is. That clump in the middle (by the electric support wire in yellow) are wild roses. Tangled in this mess are more wild roses (I’m really starting to hate thorns, even if they are connected to roses), miscellaneous weeds and (no exaggeration) hundreds of Lilac Suckers.

I know what to do with the lilacs:
1) First order of business (very early spring, before the buds start to pop), the suckers all need to be cut away close to the ground. I need to cut them all the way back to the original trunks (or any truck that’s over an inch in diameter). At this point it will be easiest to also get the trash out from under the bushes.
2) Then evaluate the big trunks to see if any of them need to be cut way. That’s going to be hard for me to do 😦
3) Just as the buds start to pop I need to find the dead wood branches and cut them away.

THEN COMES THE FUN PART!
GUESS WHO GETS TO BRING FLOWERS INTO THEIR HOME?

These bushes love to share their flowers and it’s actually healthy for you to cut them. This process actually helps the bush thicken up. I may not get a lot of flowers this year but lilacs are my FAVORITE flower and I can’t wait to bring them inside.

Wait! When my Mother passed away, one of the things I didn’t get were any of her Flower Vases.

INSPIRATION!

I need to MAKE some Flower Vases – ESPECIALLY some for Lilacs!

Plumbing

leaking-pipes-animationThis cartoon rather explains the last few months. I’m totally thankful for my Plumber. As my plumbing broke he slowly shut things down. And, in the freezing temperatures in winter, that’s all he could do.

On one hand, that’s awesome! I have a person I can depend on. Someone who really knows what to do in times of crisis.

On the other hand, I don’t have running water in my home. I occasionally get drips in my kitchen.

THE BEST NEWS: On one of his visits he mentioned, “None of this is your fault, this plumbing is only a few years old.” The two of us sat down and carefully recreated the situation. Back in November there was a water main break due to someone running a backhoe that wasn’t properly trained. The water was shut down (during a real sudden freeze) and repairs were made. This was the exact time that my problems began. The really nice thing is that this is all documented and not just by me.

So, when my Plumber said, “None of this is your fault, this plumbing is only a few years old.” I suddenly realized that this wasn’t something that should come out of my pocket and I gained the courage to call my Insurance Agent.

First came the Adjusters to take pictures, talk to me, take more pictures, etc. (wait, wait, wait). From there it goes to a Case Worker that reads through the Adjuster’s Reports to determine if I have an Insurance Case (wait, wait, wait). I WAS APPROVED and the case goes to accounting (wait, wait, wait). There they make adjustments (like taking out my deductible amount, and checking other numbers) (wait, wait, wait). And finally a check is cut and mailed (wait, wait, wait).

So now I need to sit down with my Plumber. He knows what needs to be done — I KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY I HAVE. The two of us need to come together on a plan. I need to make sure he understands that he can’t go over the amount of money I have. Mostly because, if He does go over the amount, he won’t be paid, as I’ll be out of money.

Honestly, not much was done with my home over these last 2 months. Inspiration for art just sort of hovered out of reach. I started a few things, but my heart wasn’t really in any of them. I think I was more in survival mode, rather than feeling like I wanted to create anything.

In the next post I’ll explain what started the inspiration flowing again.

Sunset In Chama

A Sunset in Chama to remember for a very long time.

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One of the things about living in New Mexico (in just about any town or location) are the absolutely beautiful sunsets. Over the years that I’ve lived in varies parts of New Mexico its one of those things you can just about count on. If there’s a cloud in the sky, you have an awesome change of seeing a spectacular sunset. Most are beautiful, most cause to pause and enjoy.

And then there are those that blow you away.

To me the sky almost looked molten, but there was no fire any place close. I expected to see the trees ignite, I expected to see flames dancing toward me, I expected to see smoke.  But it remained bright and beautiful with no danger.

I often wonder how many people took pause to enjoy the beauty?

My Art

It took courage to display my Drawings.

300sq-WM-MulesEarMy Art is Drawing, Fiber Art, and my Home. I know most of you are following this blog because of the ideas that are coming to me from my Home, and most of those ideas are Crochet Fiber Art. But there’s a lot of what I do, behind the scenes, that involves drawing. Drawing skills help me create graph patterns which will help me crochet things like curtains. Drawing helps me understand how a flower is put together so I can crochet it, becoming a part of something else. Sketching isn’t needed to become a Fiber Artist, or to decorate a home, it’s simply how I personally do things.

With that said, My Drawings ARE a very important part of my life.
600x200-MyDrawingsBut it didn’t start that way. If you read my “About” page you got a good idea of how my drawing started. It was a skill to use, during my time as a botanist, to catalog things that my (really old) camera couldn’t catch. As camera’s improved I didn’t do as much drawing of flower parts anymore. What I didn’t explain is that, what I called doodling, never stopped.

Any time there was a ‘safe’ blank space to draw on, a pencil handy, and something sitting in front of me — I doodled it.

It was a recent event that made me think twice about my doodles. My Father was a very good artist, he did oil paintings. At the bottom of his list of painting accomplishments were flowers. Mom LOVED his flower paintings, but he didn’t enjoy painting them, and only did a ‘fair’ job. He painted them for Mom Only. If you asked him what kind of flower it was, he would say something to the effect of, “pretty for Mama.”

I, however, would look up the general shape and color, give the flower an identification, then I’d DOODLE them, followed by crumbling up my doodle and throwing it away. It’s often safest NOT to compete, and I wasn’t, I just didn’t have any confidence, and didn’t want to create any possible waves.

It wasn’t until my dear friend bought me a set of colored pencils (flash back to sitting on the ground and drawing flower parts) that I decided to try drawing a WHOLE flower (not just parts). After a few false starts I got my drawing fingers together.

Hard Crochet Coasters

What happens when Lady Inspiration steps in?

300x450-PIN-HCCoastersHard Crochet Coasters is the first FREE pattern for the lessons on learning the technique of Hard Crochet. The lessons are on my website and are free as well.

Lessons: https://www.moms-crochet.com/hardcrochet.html

This Free Pattern: https://www.moms-crochet.com/hardcrochetcoasters.html

Mr. Dittrick first developed this technique back in 1978, and wrote a book about it called, “Hard Crochet”. ‘Hard’ does not mean difficult. ‘Hard’ as in creating a stiff, hard fabric. With the technique you can create crochetable objects with a stiffness that’s awesome. Like what? Like a Fedora Hat or Purses that don’t slump. It is the technique that I use to create ‘Pottery’. And even tho they may not realize it, Amigurumi (crochet toys) uses it.

This is one of the techniques I use to create new designs/items for my home. People often ask me where my inspiration comes from. Although I have a lot of ideas, the only real way to get inspiration is to first have the skills. It really doesn’t take long to learn something new (and learning something new is SO EXCITING). As you are learning a new skill, the inspiration on what and how to use it, starts flowing. And WOW! That’s where all the fun is. When that new inspiration starts flowing you find an energy and excitement like no other.


Perhaps Lady Inspiration stepped in here. This pattern was first created back at the same time my Mother was at home, in hospice. I was her primary caregiver, and yes she was my most important concern.

I published the pattern without proof reading it (just to get it done). So now, about a year later, I was contacted by someone that was having a difficult time with the pattern. And after reading the pattern, I could honestly see why. The pattern was way off. IT REQUIRED A TOTAL RE-WRITE. That’s where Lady Inspiration stepped in. Suddenly I found myself thinking, “It really needs 2 different border styles,” and “This would look better, that makes them more professional looking, and, and, and.”

My final thoughts; Don’t be afraid to try something new or learn something new. That’s the excitement of life.

Here’s the link to the pattern again, this is a, Free Pattern: https://www.moms-crochet.com/hardcrochetcoasters.html