He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist. ~St. Francis of Assisi

May we each strive to do ALL that we do as an artist working as unto the Lord for His glory! Thanks for stopping in to visit! ~Cara Louise

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Improvements on Older Crochet Hooks

Tiny steel hooks and skinny cotton thread- those are my chosen artists' tools.

While traditionally, thread crochet was worked in white or ivory colored thread, these days you can find ANY color you can think of!

Once upon a time I used even skinnier thread, and even tinier hooks- but alas, the eyesight just isn't what it used to be! (The patience level isn't what IT used to be either!) So size 10 thread and size 6, 7, and 8 steel hooks are my usual go-to's these days.

Most of my hooks are older Boye hooks which were my grandmother's... this one is so old (maybe 60 years or so?) its price was only 25 cents!

Many new hooks have GREAT improvements in the handle part, and since the HANDS aren't what THEY used to be either, I've been playing around with fashioning my own handles from polymer clay.

Here is the SAME hook sporting a new pink swirly clay handle. An old favorite now made even better! Grandmother would approve!  The arthritis in my hands definitely approves!

Some other quite necessary equipment? My EYEGLASSES, for aforementioned reason...

little scissors to snip, snip, SNIP!

a PINK basket from the dollar store to tote the current WorkInProgress around in.

and a small notebook to keep track of 'stuff'- orders, pattern changes, ideas for new projects, shopping list for my next trip to Hobby Lobby...

Here are all my steel hooks, before I started to give them new handles.

This was my first attempt at a clay handle. Here it is being used for the start of a new treetop angel. The hook had a bamboo handle that just didn't suit me at all. The finger grip is where I really wanted extra 'grippy' stuff, and the bamboo part was just way down at the end, so I added a lump of clay, stuck it in the fridge to harden a bit, then actually used it to crochet with a while!

That formed it to exactly what I wanted! Then I carefully covered the exposed bamboo section with foil and baked the whole thing per the directions on the clay and gave it a shot of shiny gold spray paint when it cooled!

Not too bad for my first try! You can see behind my retro-fitted hook some Clover Soft-Touch hooks. Those are really great, but a bit expensive, so I only treated myself to 2 of them in the sizes I most often use. The other hooks are all going to get their own new handles eventually as I find that I need them for a project. 

Here is another hook with a new handle being used to make a lovely heart design doily! This hook still needs some color on it- maybe blue spray paint this time?

I found a couple great tutorials to share if you fancy a try at making your own polymer clay crochet hook handles.

The first site I'll share is just a great place for ALL kinds of crafty projects-
Cut out + Keep. If you aren't acquainted with this site you really ought to go and take a look!

The next link is to a YouTube video, which shows exactly what to do, and treats you to some fabulous uplifting music while doing so!

I would love to see pics of your updated hooks!

Here's my newest one, November 13, 2012

Please visit the NEW HOME of my blog and website! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Small Shell Stitch Angel Crochet Pattern

The Iron Cross I designed had me feeling so good, that I decided to design another small little item! This is mostly for my mother- she loves to decorate her Christmas tree with snowflakes and angels I have crocheted over the past 18 years! She does have quite the collection. While I may give others in my family only one new snowflake each year, my mom gets doubles, and other little goodies...I know she loves them, and I love making them for her. There is just no better feeling than to pour love into an item for someone who you KNOW will appreciate it and cherish it!

I couldn't find exactly the design I was looking for anywhere  so I designed a new pattern combining the best aspects of several others I have made over the years.

This pattern is written in tutorial style, with lots of photos to completely illustrate the trickier steps, and includes an optional halo embellishment and an alternate version which uses a wooden 'doll' clothespin.

If you have been thinking about trying your hand at thread crochet, this would be a great place to start! I used size 5 crochet thread, which is not the really skinny thread, but you could also adapt the pattern to use sport weight yarn.

You may do whatever you like with angels you make from this pattern, but you may not republish, sell, or trade the pattern in any way. Sharing the link to this pattern is always appreciated though!

*** Please note- I have no control over who pins what to pinterest or what they say when they pin. My original pin said this was to be 'free for a limited time only'- which it was, and those who re-pinned it later should have kept that original description but obviously they didn't. Sorry for any misunderstanding.

Click on this picture to be taken to Craftsy where you can purchase this pattern.

This small angel is only about 4 inches tall, can be hung on the tree or she will stand up by herself. I hope you take a look at it and make one for yourself! Please let me know if you have any trouble deciphering my instructions.

Please visit the NEW HOME of my blog and website! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Iron Cross Appplique Crochet Pattern

I just published a pattern on Craftsy! It's just a simple little applique a facebook friend asked if I could work up for her...but it's my first published pattern ever, so yay me! Most of the patterns I developed were 'for my eyes only', so this was a challenge writing it in standard crochet lingo so anyone else could follow it! I would be honored if you would give it a try and let me know if there are any ways I could improve this!

Happy happy, this is so exciting!  

Please visit the NEW HOME of my blog and website!