Saturday, January 26, 2013

Double Crochet Wreath Instructions - LOVE!

Did you see all the instructions for the WINTER side of my double duty wreath?  I announced the wreath in this post HERE.

This post will discuss the other side of the double duty wreath - namely the LOVE side.

In the mid-Atlantic US, Valentine's Day collides with winter.  If you live in a part of the world where Valentine's Day is not wintery - you can of course make ONLY a LOVE wreath - or combine a wreath for an appropriate season on the other side of your love wreath design.

OR...maybe you want to design a St. Patrick's Day wreath - and make it double duty with your LOVE wreath.  The possibilities are endless.

There are two downsides to double duty.  One is that because the motifs on the back of the double wreath have some depth to them, the wreath doesn't hang as flatly against a hanging surface as single wreaths.  Two, because there are twice as many motifs on the wreath, it is in general heavier than a one-sided wreath and the the wreath pulls a bit where the hanging loop is situated.  A bit of wire reinforcement could correct this problem, or using something firmer inside the wreath (rather than recycled cardboard) may make the wreath pull less at its hanging point.  Anyway - live and learn, it was an experiment and I'm still happy with it.  I have been flipping from one side of the wreath to the other as I please and as I feel the need to enjoy each separate side!

The love side of the wreath includes three different heart patterns.  Visit my Crochet Heart Pinterest board for more!  Some lovely roses with leaves and a few strawberries.

Things I might change about this wreath if I were to create it over again - I would have a 3rd shade of grey instead of pink in the wreath base - making the colors of the motifs pop a bit more.  I would sew the big red heart at the bottom a little more close to the strawberries.  I would have made THREE strawberries at the bottom.  One big one in the center with 2 smaller ones flanking it.  Again, I'm always re-thinking my design.

Things I LOVE about this wreath - the four little hearts with the ruffly edges and the letters L-O-V-E stitched onto them.  AND... the fabulously easy and fun and fast to create patterns I discovered while making the wreath.  Hearts and flowers were awesome.

Let's get started.  How about start with the flowers, roses to be exact.

May Roses FREE pattern from Lucy at Attic24
There are a total of 4 of them on my LOVE wreath.  I also used the pattern for her little leaves.  Each rose on my wreath has 2 little leaves as well.  I used I Love this Cotton my Hobby Lobby and also CotLin dk by Knit Picks to make the roses.  I think I used a C or D crochet hook.

Strawberries.  I used two strawberry patterns.

This red pattern is slightly longer and thinner than the pink strawberry.  On both strawberry patterns I added little white specks with a needle and yarn.  I also found the green tops of the strawberry patterns to be written a bit confusingly and I kind of fudged them, but they turned out okay - in fact, I may have switched the tops from one strawberry to the next.

Strawberry Pattern #1 is here.
Strawberry Pattern #2 is missing - I must have incorrectly typed the link into my wreath notes and I cannot find the reference.  If you recognize the pattern for the pink strawberry applique, please let me know and I'll be sure to correctly credit it!  Make TWO or THREE strawberries using the pattern link I provided or search out your own crochet strawberry applique and add it to your wreath.

Both patterns were FREE!  Thank you so much for the kind pattern providers for sharing!

Next up - solid color heart.  I liked all the heart patterns I used.  This one, tho. it uses a magic circle, doesn't fully close it's gap because so many stitches are performed inside the magic circle.  However I still like the look and shape of this heart and have included two of this motif near the bottom of my wreath - one in a bright pink and another in red.  One yarn was a light worsted and the other was a worsted.  I believe I used an E crochet hook for both.  This heart was originally in a post on the Skip to My Lou blog and was used in a heart garland.  The link is below the photo of the heart.

The link to this heart pattern is here.
A little outlined heart is next.  It's slightly smaller than the previous heart and is "outlined" in a second color of yarn.

The link for this outlined heart pattern is found here.
The final heart pattern I used was a real favorite.  I altered it a bit and will explain below.

Here is the white heart with purple ruffle.  The heart is from the pattern thought the ruffle and stitching are my alterations.

I started with this heart pattern.   Honestly, I love the pattern just as it is written but needed something a bit smaller and more ruffly for how I had envisioned this heart.  So, instead of the row of double crochet that the pattern shows as the final outside edge of the heart, I added a new color (anywhere on the heart, I joined along the side) and did a chain 1 (counts as single crochet), then ch 1 and sc in the next stitch. *ch 2, sc in next stitch, repeat from * around to starting point of join.

To add the letters to the heart, I chose a 6-strand embroidery floss and used a darning needle.  I stitched using a backstitch and just free-formed it to make the letters I needed.  I tried to keep the total size of the letters consistent in width and height on each heart.

As with all my other wreaths in this series, I darned in most of the motif tails, leaving only a few long and used those to attach the motif to the wreath base.  I also used a matching embroidery floss to tack down the motif in integral places so that it would lay on the wreath the way I imagined.

Take a look at my other wreath posts to see how I cut the cardboard donut to go in between the wreaths and attach the two wreath sides together with single crochet and add a crochet hanging loop.

That's all - I hope you enjoyed the double sided WINTER / LOVE wreath.  Consider sharing photos of your crochet wreath creations on my Facebook Page HERE.

Double Crochet Wreath Instructions - WINTER!

Did you see the post about my double-duty WINTER/LOVE crochet wreath?  I blogged about it here.  Winter/Love is the 4th in a continuing series of crochet wreaths I have designed.  Instructions to make any of the previous wreaths can be found here on my blog.  Use the search function on the right hand side of the blog and enter the word Wreath and you should get a collection of all my wreath posts.  To see the LOVE instructions for the other side of the wreath GO HERE.

Here is the WINTER side of the double duty wreath:

Do you see how it is appropriately hung outside in the wintry weather?  A bit of fluffy snow FINALLY accompanied the bitingly cold temperatures we've been having here in the mid-Atlantic US.  There were only a few inches of very powdery snow but it was just enough to make things quite prettiful outside of my windows.

Just as the snow began to fall, a light coating on our swing.
And an hour or so later when more of the fluffy stuff had landed and the sun was  heading off for the eve.
So - enough of that (and maybe a snowy post a bit later on MY OTHER BLOG)

Back to the WINTER wreath - instructions following:

If you are making a winter wreath ONLY as opposed to a double duty winter wreath, you will want to make two identical wreath sides.  For this wreath, I used a worsted weight acrylic (I Love This Yarn from Hobby Lobby) and an H sized hook.  I followed the instructions HERE from this post.

I ended up adding a bit more to the wreath before I sewed the two sides together being that my wreath was double sided, I didn't want any motifs to hang over the outside edges of the wreath - normally, the hanging over is not a problem.  To "add" to the wreath, I put an extra row of hdc stitches on both the inside and the outside of the wreath before stitching them together with a row of sc.  When I added the hdc stitches to the outside, I increased about 3 - 4 stitches to the entire outside round by putting 2hdc in the same stitch 3 or 4 times during the round.   Likewise, I decreased 3 - 4 stitches as I went around the inside of the wreath by doing hdc2tog three or four times randomly.

I made the wreath pattern in 3 colors on each side.  The WINTER side had 2 shades of blue and one of grey - there is no reason the wreath needs more than one color but I just liked the stripey look showing through underneath.

On to the motifs.  For the winter motifs, I wanted some iconic winter items but I didn't want them too cartoonish - I also wanted to stick with a color scheme that included several shades of blue and a nice bright white.  I opted for snowballs, snowflakes, snowmen and love birds.  With the lovebirds, you will notice that I broke my color scheme and went with purple.  I remain happy with that color change.  Tho. I usually make the wreath with acrylic, I tend to use a variety of cotton yarn for the motifs.  I will make an attempt to refer to the yarn weight and hook for each motif where I made note of it (as I create, I often forget to jot down the patterns and sizes for things and for that I apologize).

Do you follow me on PINTEREST?  Well, if you do - you know that I have a HUGE array of crochet boards.  I collect all manner or free and cute patterns that other crocheters are kind enough to share and several of my patterns come from there - in which case I will note the link to the pattern I used.

First - Snowflakes.  I used Lucy's snowflake patterns over at Attic24.  I just love how clear her instructions are for all of her photo tutorials.  It takes all the guesswork out of making something.

Link to snowflake pattern at Attic24
My snowflakes have a less lacy look than Lucy's.  I used a dk weight yarn and a C or D crochet hook.  I didn't stiffen or block any of my motifs and maybe the snowflakes would have been a bit more stretched and lacy if I had - however, I am happy with them.  I used a few different shades of blue for this motif and there are a total of three of them spaced around my wreath.

Next up - SNOWBALLS!  The snowballs are of my own making.  Really, there isn't much to them at all.  Here's a sample of what one looks like:

The snowflakes are made all in white.  For the white ball I used Knit Picks CotLin dk (one of my favorite motif yarns) and an E sized hook.  The snowballs themselves are all made with single crochet.  Use any classic circle pattern to make a circle as big as you want it for your wreath.  For my circle I did the following:

ROUND 1: Magic circle with 6 sc, join w/ slip stitch at the end of each round throughout the pattern
ROUND 2: 2sc in ea sc of round 1 (12 st)
ROUND 3: 2sc in 1st st, sc in next st; *2sc in next st, sc in next st - repeat from * around (18 st)
ROUND 4: 2sc in next st, sc in next 2 st - repeat to end of round (24 st)
ROUND 5: 2sc in next st, sc in next 4 st - repeat to end of round....
Continue on in rounds always doing 2sc in one stitch and sc in next ? stitches... adding 1 or 2 more sc as you go.  Look up any circle motif patterns you find - any circle will do for this purpose.  My snowball circle was 8 rounds.  Slip stitch to join to first stitch and finish off.

Next, I added chain stitches to the snowball.  Note - when adding chain stitches, don't crochet too tightly or your ball will start to pucker too much.  A little puckering is okay for this project - after all it's a snowball and a little curve or puff to the look works out just fine.  To add chain stitches to the snowball, use the instructions HERE as I explained them when making the veins in my little fall pumpkins.

My wreath contained 3 snowballs.  Each was different in that I added the rings of chain stitches in different colors and between different rounds.  Look at the photo of my whole wreath and check out the chain stitch patterns in the snow balls.  The photo above shows 3 different colors of chain rings and a total of 4 rings.

Up next - the little birds.  The love birds are so cute.  I really adore them - especially their little heart wings.  I thought about adding them to the love side of the wreath, but I really liked the look and the added color on the WINTER side.  I can just picture these little birds pecking around in the snow and I knew they needed to be on the snowy side of the wreath.

To make the birds, I used a pattern I found in the internet.

This is the crochet bird pattern - it's here on one of my pinterest boards.
The bird pattern was very fast and easy to make up - I used a worsted weight cotton (Sugar & Cream maybe, the label has fallen off) and an E or F crochet hook.  It's important to use a hook that's just a bit smaller than what you'd normally choose so that the stitches come out very tight.

Next - the snowman with a body.  I found this cute little photo on the internet:

This was the inspiration for my snowman.  To create my snowman, I used the same white cotton yarn as for the snowballs.  I made two circles, one for the body and one for the head.  After, I used a variety of buttons to decorate one of the snowmen with buttons and face.  The other snowman had a yarn 3-strand braid scarf made of embroidery floss and tied around his neck.

My snowman - pattern below.
The snowman body was made with a C hook.  

ROUND 1:  Magic ring to begin with 6sc.  Slip stitch to join.

ROUND 2:  2dc in ea stitch of round 1 (12 dc) sl st to join

ROUND 3:  ch 2, sc in same stitch, sc in next st, *2sc in next st, hdc in next st, repeat from * (18 st) sl st to join and finish off

The snowman head:

ROUND 1: same as for body
ROUND 2: 2hdc in ea stitch around (12 hdc)

ROUND 3: ch 1, sc in same stitch, sc in next st,*2sc in next st, sc in next st repeat from * to end of round, sl st to join, finish off

To join head to body:

Tie two strands from finish off tails into a tight double knot

Next, thread one of the tail ends through a darning needle (one used to crochet ends in - this bent gold one is my super fave for the job)

With right sides together, sew through the inside loop of the crochet stitches - take one of the threaded tails through 2 stitches to the left of your knot and tie off.  Then take the other threaded tail through 2 stitches to the right of your know and tie off.  Open the two sides and your snowman head and body are now joined.

I'm sure there are a variety of methods you could use to join the head and body but I wanted the outside round of crochet stitches to show on the front side of the snowman when joined and this did the trick.

I sewed the small seed beads on with a needle and some embroidery floss - embellish your snowman however you wish.  Even add arms or a stitched smile or a hat as in my inspiration snowman above.

There are two 2-part snowmen on my winter wreath.

One final motif is my snowman head with hat.

I made up the snowman head and the hat pattern and added beads for a face with embroidery floss.

Snowman head:

Using same white cotton dk yarn, and a D sized hook to make it bigger than my 2-part snowman, I followed the same circle pattern as I used for the body of the 2-part snowman except, ROUND 3 is done in a hdc instead of a single crochet.

Snowman hat:

Hat is done in a dark navy blue classic cotton dk.  Using a D hook (3.25mm).  Hat is worked in rows.

Row 1:  ch 9
Row 2:  sc in snd ch from hk, and ea additional ch (8sc).  Ch 1, turn
Row 3:  slst in next 2 sc, ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in next 5 st, ch 1 turn
Row 4:  6sc, turn
Row 5: ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in next st, hdc in next 2, dc in next 2, finish off.

So - if you are making ONLY a winter wreath and you have completed both sides of your wreath, you will want to cut a cardboard donut or some other wreath filler.  Attach all the motifs to one right side of the wreath that will be the front piece.  I weave in a lot of the motif ends but usually leave two motif tails to pull through the wreath.  I tie the two tails in a loose knot and then use embroidery floss in a color that matches the motif to stitch down the motif in integral places.  Floss can be tied in knots at the back of the wreath as they will not show and don't need to be woven in.

See all the mess I am able to leave on the inside of my wreath?  As in all my past wreaths - I cut a cardboard donut from an old cereal box or something that I find in my cardboard recycle bin.  In the case of this wreath, all I could find was a small box from some thin mint girl scout cookies (that disappeared all to fast at our house) so I had to cut and then duck tape the box to get something the right size for my wreath innards.

I usually sew on the motifs then single crochet through the inside of my wreath front and back to join them (wrong sides together).  Then I insert the cardboard donut and single crochet around the outside.  Don't forget to add a crochet hanger - or create a wreath hanger some other way.  I've described that part in more detail on my instructions for the other wreaths I've done in this series.

NOW.... if you plan to make a double duty Winter/Love wreath - or you would rather make a LOVE only wreath in time for Valentine's Day - follow me to THIS POST to see the instructions for the LOVE wreath motifs and construction!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Double Duty Crochet Wreath TaDah!

There are little, simple things we do to make ourselves happy.  One of the happy makers for me is crochet.  I have created a crochet wreath that celebrates winter and love.

This wreath is part of a series of crochet wreaths that I have created this year.  This one is a bit different in that it is double-sided.  One side celebrates winter and the other side represents love.  Since the weather in my hemisphere is wintery when Valentines Day comes around, I wanted to represent both the season of winter and my anniversary - Valentine's Day.

I wrote two posts containing the instructions and patterns for making this wreath:
Winter Side Patterns and instructions are HERE.
Love Side Patterns and instructions are HERE.

Here is the wreath I created to do just that.  This is the WINTER side.

This is the LOVE side.

I adore both sides.

If you've missed my other wreaths in this crochet series, you can read about them here:

Springtime wreath (which I now feel to be MUCH more like summer) is here in THIS POST.

Autumn wreath (a serious true crochet love of mine) and it's patterns and instructions can be found in THIS POST.

Christmas wreath was shown here - tho. I do plan to share the patterns and links for this one in time for a Christmas in July post (as I managed to give the ta dah on this one too late in the season to get it all written out in time for others to make one).

And now, the Winter/Love wreath - a double sided creation that I will show in more detail, discuss, share patterns and links for, etc... in a future post.

Please stay tuned to see more.  I will try to write it up this coming week.  You can follow me on my facebook page by clicking here - I announce all of my new blog posts on the facebook page.  Or you can click the top left side of my blog and become a public follower.  This blog also allows RSS feeds and can be read in google reader.

Ta Ta for now.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2013 - a Month by Month Event Photojournal

As I mentioned back in THIS POST, I have decided not to do a Photo A Day (Day2Day) album for 2013.  I did one for 2012 and although the pages are in process, and I look forward to making the rest, I want to do an album that focuses more on WHAT and HOW I take photos rather than just that I NEED to take a photo every day.

I'm sure some folks are able to satisfy both of those actions together, but for me, I needed something a bit different for 2013 - at least to give something new a try.

Here's what I've come up with:

1.  Two double page spreads per month.
2.  No rules about how many photos end up on the two spreads.
3.  A photo focus (actually two) per month.
4.  Photos that I LOVE.  Photos that fill me with pleasure to look at.
5.  Learn new photo techniques and better command over my camera.

Here are the photo focuses for each month:

JAN: Fresh AND New
FEB: LOVE and Color
MAR: WINTER WEATHER and Around the House
MAY: Planting/Growing/Flowers
JUNE: SPRING and Outdoors
JULY: Food/Drink/Fun
AUGUST: Beach and Summer
SEPTEMBER:  School Stuff and Around town
OCTOBER:   Fall/Halloween
NOVEMBER:  Thankful and Home
DECEMBER: Lights and Traditions

For instance.  In January, I will concentrate on photos of things that TO ME say Fresh... like a fresh start or fresh fruit or fresh flowers or fresh out of the oven etc... and I will also explore things that mean New... like a new pair of socks, a new hobby, a new class, and new craft or home project.

With each photo will come an explanation about why those photos speak that theme to me or what inspired me to take the photo or why I particularly love it or how I stretched myself photographically by taking that picture.

You are welcome to join along with me in my M2M-Photo Themes journey.  You can use the themes I listed above OR you can select themes that work best for you.  If you do decide to join me in this, you can start now - it doesn't matter that it's Jan 9th - you have another 20 days or so to pick some themes and take some photos that describe them.  You are also welcome to post updates about your M2M-Photo Themes progress on my facebook page here.

Happy Focused-snapping!  Sher
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