Saturday, January 14, 2012

Food vs. Craft

I have so many things to share!  I can't decide which to post about first.  Last night, I made lasagna and a green salad with cabbage and a caper vinaigrette.  BUT, I also made the cutest crochet earrings.  Then I made flour-less peanut butter cookies (yes, you heard me right).   Decisions, decisions.  I think I will go with...

Crochet Earrings
So I would describe myself as a knitter.  I have always thought that you were either a knitter OR a crocheterererer (did I spell that right?).  Then I realized how much I love crochet motifs.  I found a book full of the most beautiful little crochet pieces.  It got me to thinking.  These would make beautiful jewelry!  There were only a couple of problems with this discovery.  Problem #1: Yarn is soft and won't hold the shape for an earring  Problem #2:  I can't crochet.
I knew I could overcome the yarn issue, but could I figure out how to crochet?  Turns out yes.  Yes I can.  And so could you.  
If you are having issues, start with a bigger hook and worsted weight yarn.  That will help you see how the motif goes together.  I will admit the thread was a little challenging at first, but totally worth the effort.   Be brave, take a deep breath and dive in!

What you need
Size 10 (1.3 mm) crochet hook
Size 20 thread (I found this in the yarn aisle.  I used Lizbeth.  It can be used to knit, crochet, or tat.  I feel an adventure in tatting coming on)
Fabric stiffening spray
Earring wires
Cardboard box
Paper towel

What you do
This motif is from 201 Crochet Motifs, Blocks, Projects and Ideas by Melody Griffiths.  I am going to give you the basics.  I chose this one to start because all you have to know how to do is chain, slip stitch, and single crochet.  Here is a link that will show you how to do all those and more!

Chain 8 stitches and connect them with a slip stitch to form a ring.

Remember when I said it kind of sucked to work with the thread?  Soooooo tiny.  Make sure you have good lighting to work under or you will feel sooooo blind.

Round 1: chain 1, *1 single crochet in the center ring, chain 16*

Repeat the stitches between the stars above, until you have 12 petals.

Almost there.

Once you are done, cut the thread a few inches away from your work, pull it through the loop left on your hook and pull it tight.

Round 2: Tie the end of your thread to one of your petals,
and chain 1 then single crochet in the same loop you just tied on to, chain 6

*1 single crochet in the next petal, chain 6*
Note: Be careful to be sure your petals are not twisted while doing this or they will be wapperjawed.  It's a word.  Look it up.

 repeat this (*) on all the petals until you are connecting the last petal to the first petal.  Use a slip stitch to hook your last chain 6 to the first petal.

Round 3: Slip stitch in the first 6 chain space from round 2, chain 1 * work 3 single crochets, chain 5, 3 single crochets, all in the same 6 chain space*  Repeat (*) around until you have done all 6 chain spaces from round 2 then slip stitch in the first single crochet to connect the round.  Cut thread a few inches from your work and pull through the loop left on the hook.  Using a needle, carefully thread your loose ends back into your piece.  You don't have to do much, since we are making it very stiff, so the chance of it coming undone is slim.  Once you have stitched the end in a little, cut the extra off.  Now it's time to stiffen them up.

You will notice your motif does not look too pretty when you are finished with it.  Do not despair!  It's nothing a little (okay, a lot) fabric stabilizer can't fix.  To get your earring to show off it's pretty shape, you will need to stretch it out and pin it in place.  I used an old cardboard box and put a paper towel on it.  Then I pinned it down, putting my pins in at an angle.  I would put in one pin and then the one directly across from it, checking to make sure I did not distort the overall shape and make it look asymmetrical.
This is what I used to firm it up.  I sprayed on a few coats, waiting about an hour between each.  Then the earring was stiff enough to remove the pins.  I flipped it over and sprayed the back.  At this point, I could put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds to speed the process up.  Check your bottle to see what they suggest.  I kept spraying and drying until it was as firm as I wanted it.  I looped on an ear hook and boom!  Crochet earrings!

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