Category Archives: Crochet

Harvest Time!

Over the spring and summer, the Denver Art Museum (the DAM) had an amazing exhibit entitled Spun, featuring fabulous textile art of many kinds. I told you a bit about it, specifically the Denver Satellite Reef. Crocheters from all over contributed their own pieces of coral to the reef, including me.

At the same time, the Ladies Fancywork Society created an amazing crochet installation that hung on the outside of the museum.

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The pun lover in me was extra super pleased by the title- Garden of the DAM(ed). The piece was amazing- HUGE! COLORFUL! QUIRKY! It had flowers, fairy doors, gnomes, mushrooms, squirrels, a black widow, and so much more.

On the last Friday of most months, the DAM hosts an awesome event called Untitled. Each month has its own theme, fun activities, snacks, and more. Best part? It’s free with membership, which we have.

In August, the LFS were onsite to talk about their piece and teach folks about yarn tagging. (Fun fact: they’ve been told that any attempt to yarn tag Bluecifer would actually result in terrorism charges.) Annie and I went and had a blast- and we learned that the September event would be extra awesome, with a harvest theme. As part of the harvest, the public was invited and encouraged to “harvest” pieces from the Reef and the Garden of the DAM(ed). I loved the idea of the reef continuing to live on all over the city…

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And it was even better in practice! People had so much fun choosing their piece of coral (one per person). Many many folks actually found ways to wear theirs, as scarves, hats, corsages and more.

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I’m shy about taking photos of strangers, so you’ll have to take my word for it. It was awesome! Annie, my mom, and I each harvested a piece- none that I had made. My mom picked a tiny piece that looked like an actual shell, Annie picked a long long piece that she can wear as a scarf, and I picked a fun piece of many yarns that Annie is holding in the photo below.

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Over the course of the night, the reef went from this:

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To WAY less than this:

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We got there at the early end, and I was quite thrilled to see that my monster piece of coral had already been claimed! I have no idea what happened to the other pieces I made, but it’s fun to think of them going on to new lives…

After harvesting the reef, we moved on the see what was left of the Garden. I was thrilled that a gnome was still there! And Annie chose a string of flowers- she’s planning to alternate between using it to decorate her room, and wearing it as a scarf.

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So.Much.Fun.

How often do you get to touch the art at a museum, let alone choose a piece to bring home? I love the ways that the DAM finds to bring people and art together. Can’t wait til the final friday in October!

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Filed under Crochet, Denver Satellite Reef

Our Trip to Knit the Bridge

Last week the kids and I went to visit my 97 year old grandma, who lives in Pittsburgh. It was an overdue visit, but a lovely one.

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Because grandma is frail, our time with her was limited to an hour or so a day- and we explored the city again in the rest of the time. My aunt and uncle were wonderful hosts, and we went to the Zoo and the Carnegie Science Center (one of the kids’ favorite places in the world). As a bonus, a friend of mine from high school recently moved to the Burgh, right down the street, literally, from my family. We hadn’t seen one another in 20ish years, so it was great to catch up- and to see our kids meet!

And of course, we managed a fiber field trip, too. Pittsburgh is soon to be the home of the biggest yarn bombing in American history. The city of three rivers has over 450 bridges, and in August the Andy Warhol Bridge will be covered completely in knitted and crocheted pieces! You can learn loads about the project on their blog and their Facebook page– and also in their Ravelry group. The scale of this project is mind-boggling!

On our last day in Pittsburgh, we stopped by their home at the Spinning Plate Gallery, and checked it out.

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Currently they are collecting and cataloging the pieces. They have nearly enough, but some need to be adjusted to the right size. Each piece is being measured, photographed, and if needed, sized up.

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The ones on the floor are ready to go… but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Yarnberg?

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The pieces on the table are not quite the right size and need some work. Happily, volunteers and guests are welcome to stop in and help. Which is exactly what Annie and I did…

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Annie worked some rows of single crochet on a piece, and I knitted some garter stitch out of some black acrylic- the black bits will be the joining pieces between all the colorful panels, and they still need LOADS of those bits.

When we stopped in we met Amanda and Kitty, and another lovely woman whose name I have forgotten- I am so sorry about that! Kitty gave me a wonderful tour, and was such a gracious hostess. We saw the blueprints for the project…

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and the knitting machines…

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which are using super fine yarn to make some massive solid stockinette pieces…

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which are then being reinforced with strong plastic construction materials.

Even the maps tracking the locales of the participants are fiber-tastic! (Locations of contributors are marked with embroidery floss.)

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While we were there, some folks  came in to drop off some pieces- and they were visiting from Barcelona! There have also been pieces contributed from Buenos Aires! Since Annie and I are both working on pieces for the Denver Satellite Reef, we feel like we represented for Denver- and there were some random crocheted bits and bobs that Kitty gave us to take home to add to some of our coral- so Knit The Bridge will also be a part of the Denver Satellite Reef. How cool is  that?

I am beyond impressed by the scope of this project. My budget is tight, but I did contribute a small amount through the Indiegogo campaign that has been set up… (It’s tax deductible, to boot.) The amount of work, planning, materials, community, and fiber that has gone into this project is simply amazing. And I cannot wait to see the finished project.

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Thank you, Knit The Bridge, for letting us be a tiny part of your amazing endeavor! We wish you all the best!

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Filed under Denver Satellite Reef, Knitting, Travel

More Coral

I’ve been yarning away on more coral for the Denver Satellite Reef. It’s been growing by leaps and bounds, but I don’t have any new photos to show you. I’m hoping to make it over there next week, but meanwhile, I can show you what I’ve been up to.

My first few submissions were limited by the amount of yarn I had on hand. I was working mainly with leftovers and scraps, so when the yarn ran out, the coral pieces stopped growing.

Even one of my most recent ones had the same issue:

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The center is so random, I don’t even know what it is or where it came from. I found a tiny ball in my stash. The outer edging is also a random leftover, no idea what project it was from. The entire coral fits in my hand.

I wanted to try something bigger… So a few weeks back I bought myself one of those giant skeins of yarn at Michael’s- not a Pound Of Love, but very similar. Over 1200 yards of worsted weight lavender. My goal was to use the entire skein on one coral. But I didn’t get that far. It grew and grew, and eventually, when I had used up about 2/3 of the skein, each row was taking 3-4 hours to complete. My experiment stopped being fun, so I switched to the multicolored edging yarn.

Check out the leftovers below…

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It took over one entire skein, over 240 yards, to complete the final edge row! And then I added a row of picot edging. THAT row took over 2.5 skeins! Over 600 yards. And 2 weeks. Take a look at my monster-piece. And check out the quarter in the photo for perspective…

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Yikes. And can you guess how much this piece of coral weighs?

Over 26 ounces.

I dropped both these pieces off at the Denver Art Museum this afternoon, so hopefully in a few weeks, after they go through the freezing process, they’ll be visible in the Reef!

Speaking of the Reef, check out this very cool postcard the DAM sent out to members this week:

Scan 20And the back-

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While the reef on the front isn’t the Denver Satellite Reef, the one on the back is! If you’re in the Denver area, come check it out! And if you don’t know how to crochet but you’d like to learn, join in one of the free weekend workshops listed above. You’re not into crochet, you say? Spun covers quilting and spinning and so many other textile arts… you’ll love it all!

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Filed under Crochet, Denver Satellite Reef

The Denver Satellite Reef

What have I been up to lately, you ask?
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Why, churning out pieces of crocheted coral, of course… Isn’t that what everyone’s doing these days? Actually, in Denver, we kind of are…

Want the backstory? The Denver Art Museum was recently awarded a massive grant to expand their permanent textile exhibit, and at the same time they embarked upon the creation of a temporary textile exhibit, called Spun.

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The entire Denver area textile community is going bonkers over this exhibit- as well we should. Not only is the eye candy ah-may-zing, multiple parts of the exhibit allow for community participation.

Like the Denver Satellite Reef, being created by area crochet artists in conjunction with the exhibit. A few months back, the DAM put out a call for crocheters. They invited us to a private workshop with Christine Wertheim of the Institute for Figuring, the creators of the original Crochet Coral Reef project back in 2005. There we learned about hyperbolic crochet, and the history of the Crochet Coral Reef, including the many “people’s reefs” around the world. And the DAM invited us to help create their Satellite Reef, to be displayed in the museum itself!

Um, awesome.

So I finished up some stuff I was already working on, and then busted out my leftover bits of wool and acrylic, as well as the random novelty yarns I bought way back when I started knitting, and got to work. Thus far I’ve only finished the 4 pieces you see above (said pieces are currently in the freezer at the DAM, completing their 2 week quarantine to ensure they don’t bring any pests in with them), but I have big plans to keep on going. This stuff is very addictive. The DAM will continue adding pieces to the reef all summer long. If you’re local, you can drop in and crochet in the reef itself every saturday and sunday- and if you want more info, leave me a comment below.

Here is what the reef looked like as of Thursday.

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The entire exhibit won’t be open to the public until Sunday, but this Wednesday, there was a grand opening- that I, as an official contributor(!) got to attend with my family!

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We got a sneak preview, got to enjoy the fabulous food and drink, and the yarn-y decor contributed by, of course, Fancy Tiger.

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And, in what seems like the most brilliant visual joke ever, because I am punny and have a silly sense of humor, they greeted everyone at the entrance with: cotton candy! For a textile exhibit! Whee!

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And then I went right back to the museum on Thursday, to attend the Insider Moment with Margaret and Christine Wertheim. I took my current piece of coral along with me, and worked on it during the talk. At one point, Christine used it as an example for the entire group. So.much.fun! She even graciously posed for a photo with me and my pseudosphere.

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But the best part of the entire thing? After going to see the exhibit on Wednesday night, Annie was so into the reef that she wants to learn how to crochet her own pieces. Time for some mother-daugther yarning!

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Filed under Brushes with Greatness, Crochet, Denver Satellite Reef

Hoppy Bunny Day!

Apparently Easter at our house will be all about Pinterest… The cookies earlier this week, and now the cutest crochet bunnies, ever. I found this WONDERFUL tutorial on Pinterest last week, and set right to work cranking out some crocheted granny square inspired bunnies for my own little people. Later tonight, there will be a glow in the dark Easter egg hunt with our wonderful neighbors- found on Pinterest last year, tried with some success, and hopefully to be improved upon this year.

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Henry’s bunny is in his favorite color- green- spiced up with some yellow and orange. I realized after it was done that I had inadvertently replicated the colors of a 1970s kitchen.

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I think he likes it.

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Annie’s bunny is in her favorite color- blue- spiced up with my fave, purple. My favorite part is the flower shaped buttons for eyes.

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I know she likes it!

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Filed under Annie, Crochet, Henry, Kids, Pinned it AND made it!

Tunisian on Ice

Right before we headed to the mountains last week, and I do mean RIGHT before, I took a class at Fancy Tiger on how to do Tunisian crochet in the round- to make a gorgeous cowl.

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The cowl was designed by the fabulous Cat specifically to show off some amazing yarn- Nightfall by FibroFibers. The yarn slowly changes from color to black over the course of the entire skein. I chose Cyan- such an amazing blue- but I might also have a skein of Hot Pink hidden away for a rainy day.

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After a false start (twisted my loop, ugh), I got going for real. I crocheted all the way up the mountain while Rich drove- what a great husband!

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I’ve been working on the cowl, a pair of socks, and squares for my afghans, so I haven’t made as much progress as I would have liked. Saturday, I took the cowl with me to my first Avs game of the season. Still haven’t forgiven them for the strike, but I am glad to see them play… especially when we win!

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You can just begin to see tiny pops of black in the blue… Today I hit the point with loads of black, but also noticed my tension really loosened up. I may rip back to just about what you see in the photo. Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with me and my adorable little hockey fans…

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Filed under Crochet, Hockey, Tunisian

Ta da!

I did it!

Ta dah!

My 2011 afghan is DONE! I finished the final stitch on the border about 2 weeks ago, but I didn’t have a good spot in my house to try and photograph it. (I even thought about taking it to the ice castles last weekend, but decided that would be insane.) So when March’s afghan block class rolled around, I took the finished blanket with me to Fancy Tiger and borrowed their floor…

Laid out on the floor, you can see all the problems. But you know what? I don’t care! I love this afghan. I’m proud of it. The colors make me smile. And the fact that I did it- I spent a year learning new techniques and actually completed this final project- has me ridiculously proud. You’d think I invented crochet or something…

Speaking of which, I couldn’t have done any of this without our fearless leader and amazing teacher, Cat. She’s awesome. And she’s published! Here she is, gamely posing with me and my blankie…

The afghan and the teacher :-)

Thank you, Cat, for a wonderful year!

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Filed under Crochet, Odyssey Afghan

Wherein Pinterest Helps Me Finish My Afghan

We had big plans to head up to the mountains this past weekend and see the amazing Ice Castles at Silverthorne, but it was really cold, and we were feeling really lazy. So instead, we split our day between a run to Ikea, and seaming together all my afghan blocks. Well, only 2 members of the family worked on the afghan blocks- me, and…

Wally thinks he is helpful

…Wally, of course.

Because the crocheted blocks were too heavy to stick up on my quilt design wall, I resorted to laying them out on my bed. (Or as Wally thinks of it, “My bed which I begrudgingly let the humans use at night.”) I realized with all the variations in pattern and color from block to  block I was never going to be 100% satisfied with the layout, but, I did finally settle on one and start sewing the blocks together.

The final layout

I turned to my trusty “Crochet Goodness” Pinterest Board, and actually used some of the great links I’ve been collecting. I settled on a method I learned at Craftyminx’s Crochet School– an absolutely amazing free crochet resource. While Cat taught us how to seam blocks together invisibly by sewing them, I went for a faster visible method.  I crocheted the blocks together,which resulted in a really delineated outline around each block, in the dark purple yarn. Which you totally cannot see in this fabulous camera phone photo, but I’m going to post it anyway.

It's a blanket!

Look, it’s starting to look like a blanket.

The squares went together incredibly quickly using this method, and that left me ready for the final outer borders. I went with 1 row of HDC in the dark purple yarn (which is also what every square is bordered in)- that really seems to balance the thick connection between the blocks nicely. Then 3 rows of HDC in the brighter green yarn, followed by the final row- which is now partway done.

Crown picot edging...love it!

I’m using an edging stitch called “crown picot” that I found through, can you guess? Pinterest! It’s a great tutorial…super easy, and adding a really fun pop to the edge of the blanket.

I am so excited to be so close to the end of this year long odyssey. I finally feel like I have a comfortable grasp of crochet. I made new friends through my class. And I’m about to be able to snuggle under the world’s most fabulous blanket.

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Filed under Crochet, Odyssey Afghan

Once more around the block…

I spent another Sunday with wet wool and handfuls of sharp pins, but… all 24 squares are blocked!

The other half of the afghan...

The squares are all dry now, and all approximately the same shape and size. Quite a victory. Here they all are, post blocking. They’re in backwards month order, with December in the top left, down to January in the bottom right.

A year's worth of squares...

Now comes the super stressful task of deciding upon the layout. I want a good balance of colors and patterns, and I want to not give myself a migraine. I wonder if both objectives can be achieved? And there’s also the small matter of seaming- I’ve never seamed crochet blocks before. But hey, I’ve pinned lots of tutorials 😉

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Filed under Crochet, Odyssey Afghan

Sammy from the Block

Blocking, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Or maybe not, cause that sounds like dull blog fodder. Let’s just say that I never cease to be amazed at the magic that can be worked by some water and some pins… If you looked at the photo mosaic I created showing my afghan blocks to date, you probably noticed how wonky many of them were.

So today I broke out the Euclan and my amazing xmas gift from my mom- a block and roll mat. I have some of the interlocking foam squares and they have always worked well, but this mat is a step up! The gridded markings meant that I could easily pin each square to the exact same shape and size, and the design of the mat means I can move it easily if my family has the nerve to want to eat at the dinner table before the squares are completely dry.

Exactly half of the squares for the 2011 Odyssey Afghan fit on the mat at one time- including one new square. Can you spot it?

Blocking: it really is magic!

That means I should probably finish those final 2 squares so I can block the remainder ASAP. One Tunisian from September, one front and back post from October…

I’m simply amazed by how nicely the blocks are squaring up- I told myself blocking would work miracles, but I didn’t really believe it… Until today! And I deliberately  started with the absolute worst squares.

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Filed under Crochet, Odyssey Afghan