Well, I’ve been doing an awful lot of thread crochet lately, so I think I will take a break and switch to something else. Of course, there’s always a lot of stuff and ideas rattling around in my head to pick from, so no worries about coming up with something.
I think I will do some quilting, but some small quilting. I’m still recovering from my last queen-size, and I’ve been thinking about making some pot holders. Pot-holders? Potholders? Google has examples of all three, so I will just pick one. (I should have Googled “mantle” for the last series of posts about my thread crochet. I ended up putting 14 thread crochet doilies inside a decorative fireplace mantel, which I consistently misspelled ‘mantle’. I might make a mantle sometime, a cloak or covering, but that’s for later.)
Anyway, I think I will make some quilted pot holders. Maybe for sale, maybe to practice different quilt blocks, maybe just because I could use some in the kitchen. So I’m off, to find some quilt block patterns!
Well, I couldn’t find any leftover living room paint, so the mantle space has not been touched up. That’s not to say we don’t have any, and if it turns up I would still like to fill in a few spots, but time’s a-wasting, and I wanted to finish… so the doilies are up!
Mandala madness! Or a fireworks finale. I love it. My 6 year old says it’s pretty. My husband is not saying anything, but the space has been empty for 9 years (has it really been that long since the reno?) and now it’s my turn. I think (or hope) he will get used to it.
I think it fills in nicely. Well, it fills in a lot, but I like it. I have a few more small ones that I didn’t put up. I had thought I would tuck them in along the bottom, but it looked a little heavy so I took them away. The other two smallest ones are probably not necessary but I really like them, so they stay.
They are all, but one, Grace Fearon designs. The two littlest ones are the first few rounds of one of her patterns with an outside round from another pattern. The cream colored star-ish doily near the top is a single motif from Super Stitches Crochet by Jennifer Campbell and Ann-Marie Bakewell. They were all wet blocked, and then stiffened with Mod Podge Stiffy.
I’ve been watching a lot of old Fixer Upper episodes, and when Joanna Gaines puts a decorative mantle on a wall, she also puts things inside. Maybe not fourteen things, but they go together as one, right? One happy thread crochet party! Whew.
I believe I am done with thread crochet, at least for the mandala mantle project. I have made some small ones, partial doilies, for fill-in around the larger motifs. I’m not sure yet how many of them I will use. The overall design in the mantle is a little complicated, and there is something to be said for the balance of some blank space (husband is right!). I might not use these at all; I have the larger doilies pinned up right now, and I am liking it more and more as is. But after the littles are blocked and stiffened, I will pin them up and see if I like it. If they don’t go on the wall, I can use them as Christmas ornaments or something — I am sure, for something!
Some of these are Grace Fearon designs, or at least inspired by GF, and some are not. One is from a crochet stitch book I have, two are practice pieces from an Irish crochet book I was trying out. One is an actual Grace Fearon earring design ( Dandelion Sunrise, crochet earrings pattern #3), and a couple started out with the center of Ophelia (one modified to have back post instead of front post stitches) with the outside of something else (Emilyandthe Handmade Designs Vol 1). They are all pretty little things.
Now I need to search the garage for leftover living room paint. My mantle space needs a little touch up before final installation!
So I made an interesting discovery as I was finishing Elise (another free pattern from gracefearon.com). I started with my leftover ecru thread, hoping I would have enough. It looked like maybe enough, but I didn’t measure or anything. Anyway, I got through most of it, but ran out with two rounds to go! So I looked at the rest of my leftover thread and picked the one that looked closest, natural, and did the last two rounds with that. Guess what? They are the same color! Ecru and natural are the same color. Maybe ecru has been renamed? I found natural in a store and bought ecru from Amazon, so maybe that was old stock? Or vice versa? Whatever, I now realize that I am working with five colors of thread, not six. I looked at the doilies that I’ve made so far, and there are slight variations in color, possibly from dye lot or possibly from the amount of mod podge in each that I am using for stiffening. Anyway, that’s my new reality.
At this point I have made one copy of the larger size doilies that I wanted to make from the patterns I own and the free ones from the website. That is definitely not to say I’ve made all the patterns that I like…there are many many more that I love, but for right now I am placing some limits on myself. My next step in the project is to touch up the paint inside the mantle space, and then hang the doilies I have so far. The final step will be to fill in any blanks with smaller doilies, or partial patterns, until I am happy with the overall arrangement. I can’t wait to see it, and honestly I’m glad I’m getting closer to the finish, because my hands and wrists are getting sore from so much threadwork. I will need to switch to something else, maybe quilting?
I had a lot of cream colored thread left over from making Poppy, so I decided to make another doily that was on the larger size. Tilda is a free pattern available on Grace Fearon’s website (gracefearon.com), or you can link over from Ravelry. It is supposed to be 9 inches, and I am back to my usual crochet tension because my Tilda is 10 inches. It was a quick one, started one day and finished the next. I have a couple of pictures, but it is still on the blocking board; it is so humid here it might take a few days to dry! I didn’t want to wait to share, so here she is…
The latest doily finished from Emilyandthe Handmade Volume 1 is Poppy. This is the sixth one I’ve done from the book, and that only leaves Ophelia undone from this collection. But I’m not sure if I will do that one or not. I’ve made at least one ‘full size’ doily from each of my thread colors. Now I’d like to do some of the smaller ones, some more of the free patterns available on the website gracefearon.com, and maybe some smaller motifs from some other sources. I’d like to use of the leftovers of my threads, and have enough smaller doilies to mix in with the larger ones as I fill in my living room mantle space.
I am getting closer to the end of this project (I think!) and it’s a good thing because my hands are getting sore and I probably need to take a break from thread-work but I really am excited to see how this turns out.
Speaking of turning out, I had a bit of a surprise with Poppy. The pattern lists the finished size at 11 inches. I have consistently been at least one inch larger on every pattern I’ve done, until now. Poppy came in at barely 10 inches, after blocking. Maybe because there was a bit more single crochet? Anyway, as usual, it is lovely and will definitely work with the mantle space project.
Whew, after Barbara I did little Miss Rhiannon. This doily came out to just 5 inches, picot to picot. I actually did two of them in one day. For the first one, I used the 1.25mm hook I’ve been using, and the doily looked a little tight and sort of curled up. Blocking would probably fix it, but Evan wanted a little doily for himself, so I gave him this littlest version.
Then I re-did Rhiannon using a 1.5mm hook. I like it much better. It is a little looser, a little bigger, and much flatter. In my mandala scatter collage inside the mantle, this doily will be at the top, and the 5 inch size fits in better with the other ones I’ve made so far. (The first version was 4.5 inches, and just a little small).
There’s only one more thread color (cream) that I haven’t used yet. That will make one more larger sized doily, then I will use all the thread I have left to make smaller ones, repeating some of the patterns, and then the final assembly. I can hardly wait!
My latest larger doily is called Barbara, and she is kind of frothy looking. This effect is created by about a million double and triple crochet popcorn stitches. This creates a lot of bobble-like texture, and is really pretty, but was time consuming for me to do. Maybe I have been doing too much thread crochet (is there such a thing?) — my hands and wrists are getting a little sore. Plus my middle finger on my left hand has gone numb. This is the finger that the tip of my hook bumps into on every stitch, and I think a callous has formed on that one edge toward the tip of my finger. So by numb I mean that the finger works fine for everything else, but when my crochet hook bumps the end of that finger, I don’t feel it at all anymore. That’s actually not good, it makes my stitching feel weird. It will probably soften up and go away, but not until I stop crocheting for a while. My index fingers get the same way when I knit.
As I was making this doily, it really seemed to take longer than it should. Perhaps I was tired, or distracted, or who knows what. I finally got to the second to last round, and it was quite a round. At least a million triple crochet stitches to make popcorns that went together to make flowers. Beautiful, but lots and lots of stitches. As I started the very last round (yahoo!) I found a fatal error in the round before (oh no). A fatal error for me is one I can’t fudge/fix in subsequent rounds, a mistake that obviously distorts the pattern. And there it was, a missing flower petal and ch-5 space. Right at the beginning of the round. And I really needed that ch-5 space. The whole round had to be pulled out and re-done. But for some reason, the re-do went pretty quickly. And the last round was really lovely, like little crowns all around. Barbara is done, and I am super happy.
I liked my silver thread so much that after Clementine I went right on to another smaller pattern, Mathilde, using the same color. If you just look at the doily and ignore the size marker, it is so intricate that you might think it is a large one, but she came out at 6.5 inches, the smallest one yet! I was a little afraid that smaller doilies would look too simple next to the larger ones. That’s why I was so happy to find small patterns designed by Grace Fearon; I knew they would hold their own next to their big sisters. I will probably repeat these small ones, Mathilde and Siobhan, but there is still Rhiannon, Elise, and Tilda to try. I hope my mantle space is big enough for all of them. For my husband’s sake, I plan to keep them all corralled to that one space; on my own I think I could ‘doily’ my whole house.
After my little Siobhan, I went back to a larger pattern from Volume 1 — Clementine. I had ordered some Aunt Lydia’s Classic Crochet 10 thread from Amazon of all places because I couldn’t find silver or ecru in my stores, but I knew those colors existed. I was guessing they would fit in with my other neutrals, and when the silver came, I just loved it. It is a very light gray, the most ‘colorful’ of the threads I am using, but I couldn’t wait to see it done up. So along came Clementine. This was my first experience with a pineapple motif, and they are so fun to do! A lot easier than I thought, but so graceful (no pun intended, at all) and really pretty.
I only have two unopened thread colors left, ecru and cream. So I think that means two more large doilies, and then smaller ones made from the leftovers. Unless I do a large one with multiple colors of thread…or both!