Of Crowns and slippery yarn

*Disclaimer:  I have not received (nor expect to) any compensation for reviewing/mentioning the products listed in today’s post.  Just wanted to be clear that I am not paid nor do I get any sort of free products for writing my blog.  🙂  Read on!

Have you ever been asked to make a project with a new yarn or different technique that you are not familiar with?  Does it make you nervous, or does having a new experience make you smile?  I’ve always loved a creative challenge, but I still have my moments of nervousness (especially when cutting good fabric for sewing projects).

The project I will tell you about today was one of those ‘mixed bag’ of both anticipation and excitement.  First, I worked with a new-to-me yarn.  The project called for a fingering yarn, and my client asked for a metallic color.  In my search for a fingering, metallic yarn, I found Bergere de France’s Sirene novelty yarn.  I choose the Rocher colorway for the project.  There was a slight delay in receiving the yarn because of a backorder, but the company was very good about keeping me informed of what was going on.

The other part of the project was the employment of starch.  I’m not sure I remember the last time I starched a project.  I’m sure I have at various times, long ago, but working with starch is outside of the norm for me.  The piece, however, necessitated starch to maintain its look and form after completion.  So what is the project?  It’s a crown!  Specifically, it is the Marie-Antoinette pattern by Anisbee, available on Ravelry as a for-purchase pattern.  Originally written in French, demand was high enough for the pattern that the designer translated it to English.  Several updates were made to pattern after the initial translation (so if you do get this pattern, make sure you get the latest update).  If you prefer or like the challenge of reading a chart rather than written instructions, the designer has that covered, too; a clear chart is included in the pattern.

So fingering weight yarn and a 3.0mm hook later………  I have a mini-crown!!!!  Seriously, the size I was making was supposed to have a finished diameter of about 5.5 inches.  My first attempt ended up being about half that.  Perfect for my daughter’s upcoming first birthday, not so good for my client.  General rule of thumb for anyone creating with yarn is to check the gauge first.  Unfortunately, the finished diameter was the only gauge I had with which to compare.

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Still cute, though, right?

Second attempt:  I changed the hook size to a 5.00 mm since the first crown was so much smaller.  I probably could have used the 4.5 mm hook and finished with an appropriate size, too.  The second crown turned out much better, although I did have to starch it twice.  Notes on starching:  I used a sugar starch (1:1), and dried the crowns over forms in the sun for 2 days.

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Second attempt; sizing is better.

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I did have to make some changes to the pattern itself, some were minor typos (probably lost in translation), one was a personal change.  I prefer foundation stitches when starting with long chains and especially when joining in a round.  This pattern called for a starting chain of 80 stitches, joining, then stitching in each chain for the first round.  I have a bad habit of twisting the chain, so I prefer to use foundation stitches, when appropriate.  Moogly has a great video tutorial on foundation single crochet if you are interested.  The rest of my review of the Marie-Antoinette pattern and this project is on Ravelry (my username is Lisette1528).

Have a great day!

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Late Spring Arrivals

I’m so sorry!!!!  I’ve neglected this blog for far too long.  I really don’t have a good excuse other than finding time to sit at a computer can be hard sometimes!  Our last lamb of the season was born near the end of April.  We were fortunate to have more than 70 lambs come this year.  They are all bouncing and jumping in the green fields today, as I look out the window.

I’ve also been busy building a new bee hive for the farm.  That’s right, I’m officially a beekeeper!  I’m really excited to taste the honey later this year.

But back to the crochet…..

I have been working on some new stuff.  For a long time, I promised myself that I would only work on one project at a time.  After my last move, I realized that I had far too many projects lying around in their own bags.  Some of them I had had for years and had forgotten all about them!  There were sewing projects, crochet projects, bobbin lace pillows, and even my misguided knitting projects – cast aside mid-purl.  After discovering all of this half-finished attempts, I vowed to finish projects, one at a time, before I began new endeavors.

For a long time, it worked.  One project at a time.  I was much more productive, but I also wasn’t as happy.  I get bored to easily.  So, I broke my promise to myself this spring and I have 3 projects on the hook, and two more floating in my head!

I had a small commission project that I am putting the final touches on this week.  If you are on Ravelry (a great resource!!!), be sure to check out the Marie-Antoinette crown pattern by Anisbee (paid pattern).  It comes in a couple of different sizes as written, but you can make it bigger or smaller as needed.  The diagram/chart included is really helpful, too.

I’m also working on a bonnet and sweater/jacket for my daughter and a friend’s twin daughters for this fall to keep the girls warm.  My friend’s girls were born just six weeks after my own daughter, so similar jackets (with slight changes) are in order.  The pieces are coming along nicely, with some dimensional work in back-back loops and striping color changes.

My third WIP is the never-ending thread project.  I’d estimate that I’m probably about 60-70% done with it, but those tiny stitches can take so long sometimes.