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Friday, April 17, 2015

Springtime Floral Candle Mat: A Free Crochet Pattern for You!

Several years ago I designed a set of doilies for Annie's Attic called 'Vintage Floral Doilies.' The publishing rights have now reverted back to me, and I am now happy to make these patterns available to you for free. I will be adding the other doilies in the set though the coming months, so please check back for the others. 
These are my original patterns, so they are written differently from the ones AA published, but they are the same designs.
This doily begins with an Eyelet Foundation. If you are not familiar with this technique, you can find a tutorial here:

eyelet foundation
Springtime Floral Candle Mat Doily
by Elizabeth Ann White
for BellaCrochet

Skill Level: Intermediate—for those who are familiar with working with size 10 thread and steel hooks, and who have a thorough understanding of the basics of crochet
Size: About 11” across
Materials:
Size 10 Cotton Thread:
  200 yards Shaded Green
  100 yards each Pink and Yellow
  Small amounts lavender, rose and black
Fabric Glue
Heavy starch
Size 7 (1.65mm) Steel hook


Special Stitches:
For Beginning Shell (beg shell), (ch 3, 2 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in st or ch sp indicated
For Shell, (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in st or ch sp indicated
For 2 tr cluster, (yo 2 times, insert hook in st or sp indicated, yo, pull lp through, yo, work off 2 lps, yo, work off next 2 lps) 2 times, yo, pull through  all 3 lps on hook
To work ‘shell in shell’ work into the ch-2 sp at the center of the shell indicated.


Candle Mat
Note: To work into Foundation spaces, insert hook between the ch-4 and the tr of each sp
Rnd 1: With Shaded Green, for Eyelet Foundation (ch 4, tr in 4th ch from hook) 24 times, join with sl st in first ch to form a circle of 24 ch sps; working in ch sps around circle (see Note), (sl st, beg shell-see Special Stitches) in first ch sp, shell in each ch sp around, join with sl st in top of ch-3.

Rnds 2 &  3: Sl st to center of first shell, beg shell in first shell (see Special Stitches), shell in each shell around, join.

Rnd 4: Sl st to center of first shell, beg shell in first shell, ch 1, (shell in next shell, ch 1) around, join.

Rnd 5: Sl st to center of first shell, beg shell in first shell, ch 2, (shell in next shell, ch 2) around, join.

Rnd 6: Sl st to center of first shell, beg shell in first shell, ch 3, (shell in next shell, ch 3) around, join.

Rnd 7: Sl st to center of first shell, beg shell in first shell, ch 4, (shell in next shell, ch 4) around, join.

Rnd 8: Sl st to center of first shell, beg shell in first shell, ch 5, (shell in next shell, ch 5) around to last shell, shell in last shell, ch 2, join with dc in top of ch-3.

Rnd 9: Ch 1, sc in first ch sp, ch 1, (tr, ch 1) 7 times in next shell, *sc in next ch sp, ch 1, (tr, ch 1) 7 times in next shell; repeat from * around, join with sl st in first sc.

Rnd 10: (Sl st, ch 1, sc) in first ch sp, (ch 3, sc in next ch sp) 7 times, *sc in next ch sp, (ch 3, sc in next ch sp) 7 times; repeat from * around, join with sl st in first sc. Fasten off.

Rose (make 6)
Rnd 1: With pink, ch 4, 9 dc in 4th ch from hook, join with sl st in top of ch-4. (10 dc made)

Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in each st around, join with sl st in first sc.

Rnd 3: Ch 1, sc in first st, ch 2, skip next st, (sc in next st, ch 2, skip next st) around, join with sl st in first sc. (5 ch-2 sps)

Rnd 4: For petals, (sl st, ch 2, 4 dc, ch 2, sl st) in each ch-2 sp around, join with sl st in first sl st.

Rnd 5: Working behind petals and only in skipped sts of Rnd 2, ch 1, sc in first st, ch 4, (sc in next st, ch 4) around, join with sl st in first sc.

Rnd 6: For petals, (sl st, ch 2, 6 dc, ch 2, sl st) in each ch-4 sp around, join with sl st in first sl st.

Rnd 7: Working behind petals into ch sps of Rnd 5, ch 2, (insert hook between 3rd and 4th dc of next petal, sc in ch sp, ch 4) around, join with sl st in first sc.

Rnd 8: For petals, (sl st, ch 2, 8 dc, ch 2, sl st) in each ch-4 sp around, join. Fasten off. 

Daffodil (make 6)
Rnd 1: With yellow, ch 6, sl st in first ch to form ring, ch 1, (sc in ring, ch 3) 6 times, join with sl st in first sc.
Rnd 2: For petals, work (sc, ch 3, 2 tr cluster, ch 3, sl st in 3rd ch from hook, 2 tr cluster, ch 3, sc) in each ch sp around, join.

Rnd 3: For center, working in ring between sc of Rnd 1, ch 2, sl st in ring, ch 4, (dc in ring between next 2 sc, ch 1) 5 times, join with sl st in 3rd ch of ch-4.

Rnd 4: (Sl st, ch 1, sc) in first ch-1 sp, ch 3, (sc in next ch sp, ch 3) around, join with sl st in first sc. Fasten off.

Posy (make 14)
With Rose, ch 3, (dc, ch 2, sl st) in 3rd ch from hook (first Petal made; all Petals will be worked in the same ch as First Petal); (ch 2, dc, ch 2, sl st) 4 more times in same ch as First Petal was worked in. Fasten off. (5 petals)

Butterfly (make 4)
Rnd 1: With Lavender, ch 6, sl st in first ch to form ring, ch 1, (sc in ring, ch 3) 8 times, join with sl st in first sc.
Rnd 2: (Sl st, ch 3, 4 dc) in first ch sp, (sl st in next sc, 5 dc in next ch sp) around, join with sl st in first sl st. Fasten off. (8 wings made)

Fold 10” strand of Black thread in half; fold Butterfly in half, matching wings to form 2 sides with 4 wings each. Wrap folded thread around center of Butterfly; pull ends through fold and tie in a knot. Trim black thread, leaving 1” ends for antennae.

Finishing
1: Spray Candle Mat with starch. Shape and allow to dry.

2: Glue Roses, Daffodils, Posies and Butterflies to Candle Mat as shown in photo or as desired. 


Copyright BellaCrochet 2011. All rights reserved. Please do not redistribute this pattern or post it on any website. You may share the link to the pattern only (and link shares are greatly appreciated, please tell your crocheting friends who might enjoy this pattern!) 

Special thanks go to E. J. Miller, Jolene Ortiz, Debbie Peters, Karen Misiunas and Jewel Fernley for testing these patterns.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spotlight on a Crocheter: Jennie Gaskin

Jennie Gaskin loves to talk crochet and says her involvement in crochet is precious to her. This is fortunate for all crocheters, since Jennie provides an invaluable resource for us all, especially the Threadies. Jennie owns and operates Country Yarns, a mail order business selling crochet leaflets and pattern books, and she specializes  in patterns that are hard (if not impossible) to find  elsewhere.
Here is an order that Anne Kroner Cho recently received from County Yarns. Anne says Elizabeth Hiddleson is her favorite designer, and when she discovered Country Yarns, her husband told her to go ahead and order 20 books as an early Mother's Day and Birthday gift!

photo used courtesy Anne Kroner Cho

Here is Jennie's story:

Here is a little background on me, in case some of you have no idea who I am , LOL! I have been a Threadie since the age of 12. I learned from my mother on size 30 thread, probably because she needed her size 10 for herself. I've been married and sitting on this 120 acres of pasture and timber for 45 years this coming April 4th. 
Back in 1982, hubby decided I needed more adults to talk to so he built me a little needlework shop across the driveway from our house, using mostly leftovers from when we built our home back in '77. The lady in our tiny, tiny town who sold yarn in their general store had just retired and closed the store, so it was a good time to do that. The shop was only 16 x 24, and some of that was storage so there wasn't much room but it made me happy. 
It wasn't long before we had to enlarge (and then enlarge again!)  after  I started carrying craft supplies for the groups (scouts, school, church, etc.) in our area. I was a Girl Scout from way back, and I knew how hard it could be to figure out crafts for the groups so I started putting together little inexpensive individual kits for the leaders. It was a blast, and I had so much fun over the years until I finally had to close the shop in 2007 for family reasons.  The best pats on the backs were from leaders and teachers; one teacher told me that her class "bad boy" came to her one day and thanked her for getting the kits to make beaded Christmas tree ornaments.
In the meantime I had become very friendly with the sales reps at LA and discovered that with the new ownership back then there had been changes in their reprint policies! Before, when inventory on a title ran low they would just do a reprint. Now, they discontinued many of their titles when inventory ran out. Ack! So I started watching their inventory list and started buying what I could afford of certain "good" titles, like the Patricia Kristoffersen titles and even older ones, especially thread titles because nobody seemed to be printing many anymore.
I also sell a large selection of Elizabeth Hiddleson pattern books. 
Not everybody even knows who Elizabeth Hiddleson is. She was just a "threadie" like all of us, except that (like a few of us) she had a creative side and loved to fiddle with her doilies and turn out something new. Her son told me that she would come home from work (I think she worked as a bookkeeper in the shipyards in Vallejo, which is across the bay from San Francisco) and sit in her chair and crochet until time to start supper.  
Elizabeth Hiddleson

Mrs. Hiddleson sold volumes 1-15, and Delena Byrd (her daughter) sold volumes in the higher numbers. Then Mrs. Hiddleson started on the "A" series for herself, so they both ended up with about an equal number of volumes and individual patterns. Delena passed away, and Delena's daughter Shirley Siracusa took over her mother's part.  On top of the 49 volumes, there are about 300 individual patterns, and I'm pretty sure I have all except one of them which nobody seems to have.
At the time, Lily Mills was selling EH books along with their thread, and they were the ones who advertised EH books in the Workbasket. That was because Mrs. H. recommended and "advertised“ Lily threads in her books, and it was a mutually beneficial arrangement. When Lily Mills quit, that meant there were no more advertisements,  so naturally sales went down because nobody knew they were still being published! 
I heard through the internet grapevine that Shirley was still selling the books, so I wrote her a letter and asked her if she wholesaled the books because I would like them on my web site. Her reply said that she would actually like to sell them all at one time because she was moving into a smaller house and wouldn't really have room for them. She was on the verge of having them hauled to the dump!!!!! *gasp* Nooooo!!! 
So I talked to my husband and asked if I could borrow that much money from our savings, and his only question was, "Can you sell them?" Could I sell them??  You bet! I got back in touch with Shirley to tell her we were interested. She told me there were about 200 book boxes full. Yikes! 
Okay, my husband works for a moving & storage company and he could figure out how to get them here from California (to Louisiana). A week later, Shirley called back and said, "Jennie, I have some bad news." Uh oh, she's found somebody who can afford to pay lots more than me. But it was other news - there were more like 300 (!) boxes. Okay, George can handle that. We sealed the deal, and when they showed up there were 328 boxes, not just book boxes but double stack book boxes, like the boxes that copy paper comes in but slightly larger! And a  (small) water heater box full of loose patterns. And in that box was what I called my Golden Easter Eggs - two Japanese EH books!! Apparently, Mrs. H. had made a deal with Ondori to let them publish her patterns in special books with just her patterns in them. And best of all, Ondori charted them all! These were only patterns from her first 15 books. (I've since gotten the other ones from Japanese Yahoo auctions, and you wouldn't believe how much the Japanese were bidding on them against me!) So I got volumes 16 through 49 from Shirley, although a couple of them were very low in stock and volume 24 was sold out. 
The books mentioned Wheeler Publishing in Vallejo, so I decided it couldn't hurt to call them and see if they were still in business or maybe could at least tell me how to get in touch with the Hiddlesons. Rita Burke, the owner of Wheeler (I think that was her maiden name), is a delightful 80+ lady who still went into the office every day and enjoyed a busy life. She told me where the Hiddlesons were (they had moved to Arkansas with Mrs. Hiddleson who was in her 90s then), and she told me that she had a printing of volumes 1-A through 10-A that a missionary in Japan had ordered and would pick up when he came back to the states for a visit, but something happened and he never picked them up or paid for them. She was happy to sell them to me and ship them to me. Thankfully, this was not 7 TONS like the last shipment! 
I got in touch with the Hiddlesons in AR, and they had boxes of books and patterns that they had hauled to AR from CA,  but because they couldn't advertise and mail wasn't being forwarded after all that time, they hadn't sold them. They were glad to sell them to me, so hubby and I drove up to AR and picked them up.
Unfortunately, Mrs. H was in the nursing home by that time so I didn't get to meet the Doily Pattern Queen herself. But I did get to hear about her from her son and daughter-in-law! She was designing back in the 1940s (maybe even longer) and selling her patterns to Lily, American Thread, and Coats & Clark, but as you all know those companies didn't name their designers on the patterns. Mrs. H was interviewed by the Vallejo newspaper (I have a copy) and she told them, "Call it vanity, but I wanted to see my name with my designs." 
Mrs. Burke told me that Betty, as she called her, came into the business "sometime in the mid 50s" with 2 doilies and a hand-written pattern. She had already been to another business in town and HE hadn't wanted to bother with it. Mrs. Burke said she could photograph the doily against a black background and have the patterns typed for her. After that, Mrs. H advertised the pattern in a "weekly newspaper" (probably something like the Grit newspaper, if you remember it) for 25 cents, and she sold all 1,000 copies in 2 weeks! Her daughter-in-law Carolyn said that it was either the year before or the year after she and Bill got married, so that puts it in the mid 1950s.
So, here I was with all these books, sometimes a couple thousand of one title but only a couple hundred of another. Luckily, I got in touch with a distributor who sold to Hobby Lobby, and HL wanted them! With that money, I had reprints of volumes 3 and 24 made by Wheeler Printing from the original plates (!) which they still had because they did so many reprints through the years for Mrs. H and for Lily Mills. Lily would call Wheeler and order a printing of certain volumes, which they sold through stores to help sell their threads, and Mrs. H would get royalties on those books too. 
When I have reprints made of either the volumes or the individual patterns, I paid Mrs. H (and now her son) royalties on the reprints too. It's the right thing to do. I just wish I had the money to get them all reprinted *sigh*
Mrs. H's last patterns were all published in Decorative Crochet and Magic Crochet (look in the early 1990s editions), because she didn't have to write out the patterns. She just sent them the doilies and they "wrote" the patterns and charts themselves. Her goal was to have a final volume 50, but with Lily Mills not advertising for her anymore it became financially impossible. I would love to realize that dream for her, but it doesn't look like we'll ever get to do it. But at least we have a dream!

Thank you, Jennie, for sharing your story with us. I admire and appreciate all you have done for crocheters everywhere, and I know we all hope someday your dream of printing volume 50 will come  true!
You can find Jennie at:
 Web site:  http://www.countryyarns.com
 Blog:  
http://countryyarnscrochet.wordpress.com/


Monday, March 23, 2015

Easter Garden Doily: A Free Crochet Pattern For You

Hidden deep in an enchanted meadow, the Easter Bunny has a secret garden. A magical garden where he grows his most lovely and special Easter eggs. He has given me permission to re-create his garden in crochet, and share the pattern with you. We hope you will enjoy it!
Easter Garden Doily

By Elizabeth Ann White
For BellaCrochet


Size: Doily is about 13” across. Flower Egg Holders hold a medium size egg.

Skill Level: Intermediate—for those who are familiar with working with size 10 thread and steel hooks, and who have a thorough understanding of the basics of crochet

Gauge: Rnds 1-5 of Doily are 2 ½” across

Materials:
Size 10 Crochet Cotton Thread:
  150 yards Shaded Greens for Doily and Leaves
  50 yards each of 5 different colors for Flower Egg Cups
  25 yards each of 5 different colors for Roses
5 Artificial eggs
Heavy Spray Starch
Glue
Size 7 (1.65mm) Steel Crochet Hook

Special Stitches:
For Beginning Small Shell (beg sm shell): (Sl st, ch 3, dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in st or ch sp indicated
For Small Shell (sm shell): (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in st or ch sp indicated
For Beginning Large Shell (beg lrg shell): (Sl st, ch 3, 2 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in st or ch sp indicated
For Large Shell (lrg shell): (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in st or ch sp indicated

Doily
Rnd 1: With shaded green thread, ch 4, sl st in first ch to form ring, ch 3, 11 dc in ring,
join with sl st in top of ch-3. (12 dc made)
Rnd 2: (Ch 3, dc) in first st, 2 dc in each st around, join. (24)
Rnd 3: (Ch 3, dc) in first st, dc in next st, (2 dc in next st, dc in next st) around,
join. (36)
Rnd 4: (Ch 3, dc) in first st, dc in each of next 2 sts, (2 dc in next st, dc in each
of next 2 sts) around, join. (48)
Rnd 5: (Ch 3, dc) in first st, dc in each of next 3 sts, (2 dc in next st, dc in each of
next 3 sts) around, join. (60)
Rnd 6: Ch 1,  sc in first st, (ch 5, skip next st, sc in next st) around to last st, ch 2, skip last st,  join with dc in first sc.
Rnds 7-10: Ch 1, sc in first ch sp, (ch 5, sc in next ch sp) around, ch 2,   join with dc in first sc.  
Rnd 11: Beginning small shell (see Special Stitches) in first ch sp, ch 1, (small shell—see Special Stitches—ch 1) in each ch sp around, join with sl st in top of first ch-3. (30 small shells)
Rnd 12: Sl st to center of first shell, beg sm shell in first shell, ch 1, (sm shell in next shell, ch 1) around, join.
Rnds 13-14: Sl st to center of first shell, beg sm shell in first shell, ch 2, (sm shell in next shell, ch 2) around, join.
Rnds 15-16: Sl st to center of first shell, beg lrg shell (see Special Stitches) in first shell, ch 2, (lrg shell­­­­see Special Stitches--in next shell, ch 2) around, join.
Rnd 17-18: Sl st to center of first shell, beg lrg shell in first shell, ch 3, (lrg shell in next shell, ch 3) around, join.
Rnd 19: Sl st to center of first shell, beg lrg shell in first shell, ch 4, (lrg shell in next shell, ch 4) around, join.
Rnd 20: Sl st to center of first lrg shell, beg lrg shell in first lrg shell, (ch 4, lrg shell in next shell) around, ch 2, join with hdc in top of ch-3.
Rnd 21: Ch 1, sc in joining sp, ch 1, (tr, ch 1) 9 times in ch-2 sp of next lrg shell, *sc in next ch-4 sp, ch 1, (tr, ch 1) 9 times in ch-2 sp of next lrg shell; repeat from * around, join with sl st in first sc. (30 scallops made)
Rnd 22: (Sl st, ch 1, sc) in first ch 1 sp of first scallop, (ch 3, sc in next ch-1 sp) 9 times, *sc in first ch-1 sp on next scallop, (ch 3, sc in next ch-1 sp) 9 times; repeat from * around, join. Fasten off.   


Flower Egg Holder (make 5 of  different colors)
Rnd 1: Ch 4, 11 dc in 4th ch from hook, join with sl st in top of ch-4. (First 3 chs count as first dc; 12 dc made)
Rnd 2: (Ch 3, dc) in first st, 2 dc in each st around, join with sl st in top of ch-3.  (24 dc made)
Rnd 3: Working this round in back lps only, ch 3, dc in each st around, join.
Rnd 4: Beg sm shell in first st, skip next 2 sts, (sm shell in next st, skip next 2 sts) around, join with sl st in top of ch-3.
Rnd 5: Sl st in next st, beg sm shell in next ch-2 sp, sm shell in ch-2 sp of each sm shell around, join.
Rnds 6-7: Sl st in next st, beg sm shell in next ch-2 sp, ch 1, (sm shell in ch-2 sp of next sm shell, ch 1) around, join with sl st in top of ch-3.
Rnd 8: Sl st in next st, beg sm shell in next ch-2 sp, (ch 2, sm shell in ch-2 sp of next sm shell) around, join with hdc in top of ch-3 to create joining sp.
Rnd 9: Ch 1, sc in joining sp, ch 1, (dc in ch-2 sp of next sm shell, ch 1) 5 times, *sc in next ch-2 sp between shells, ch 1, (dc in ch-2 sp of next sm shell, ch 1) 5 times; repeat from * around, join with sl st in first sc. (8 scallops made)
Rnd 10: Ch 1, sc in next ch-1 sp, (ch 3, sc in next ch-1 sp) 5 times *sc in first ch-1 sp on next scallop, (ch 3, sc in next ch-1 sp) 5 times; repeat from * around, join. Fasten off.
Base
Rnd 3: Working in remaining lps of Rnd 2, join with sl st in first st, beg sm shell in same st as joining, (ch 2, skip next 2 sts, sm shell in next st) 7 times, join with hdc in top of ch-3 to create joining sp.
Rnd 4: Ch 1, sc in joining sp, ch 1, (dc in ch-2 sp of next sm shell, ch 1) 5 times, *sc in next ch-2 sp, ch 1, (dc in ch-2 sp of next sm shell, ch 1) 5 times; repeat from * around, join with sl st in first sc. (8 scallops made)
Rnd 5: Ch 1, sc in next ch-1 sp, (ch 3, sc in next ch-1 sp) 5 times *sc in first ch-1 sp on next scallop, (ch 3, sc in next ch-1 sp) 5 times; repeat from * around, join. Fasten off.


Rose (make 5 of  different colors)
Rnd 1: Ch 4, 9 dc in 4th ch from hook, join with sl st in top of ch-4. (10 dc made)
Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in each st around, join with sl st in first sc.
 Rnd 3: Ch 1, sc in first st, ch 2, skip next st, (sc in next st, ch 2, skip next st) around, join with sl st in first sc. (5 ch-2 sps)
Rnd 4: For petals, (sl st, ch 2, 4 dc, ch 2, sl st) in each ch-2 sp around, join with sl st in first sl st.
Rnd 5: Working behind petals and only in skipped sts of Rnd 2, ch 1, sc in first st, ch 4, (sc in next st, ch 4) around, join with sl st in first sc.  (5 ch-4 sps)
Rnd 6: For petals, (sl st, ch 2, 6 dc, ch 2, sl st) in each ch-4 sp around, join with sl st in first sl st. Fasten off.

Leaves (make 5)
With shaded green, ch 6, sl st in first ch to form ring; ch 1, *2 sc in ring, ch 10, in 6th ch from hook work (2 tr, ch 3, sl st in 3rd ch from hook, 2 tr, ch 4, sl st),  sl st in remaining 4 chs of ch-10*; repeat between * and * 2 more times for a total of 3 leaves, join with sl st in first sc. Fasten off.

Finishing
1: Place doily on blocking surface. Spray with heavy starch, shape and allow to dry.
2: Spray each Flower Egg Holder with heavy starch, shape and allow to dry.
3: Glue one set of Leaves to bottom of each Rose. Glue Leaves and Rose to top of an artificial egg. Allow to dry.
4: Place one egg inside each Flower Egg Holder. Place Flower Egg Holders evenly spaced around doily (Flower Egg Holders can be glued in place if desired; I did not glue mine.)

 Copyright BellaCrochet 2015. All rights reserved. Please do not share or redistribute this pattern. It is for personal use only. You may sell items made from this pattern, but not the pattern itself. 



 Special thanks  to the Easter Bunny's helpers and my wonderful testers, Jewel Fernley, Jolene Ortiz, E.J. Miller, and Rosina Smith!

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Threadie's March 2015 Crochet Along (CAL)

The Threadie's Facebook Crochet Along for March 2015 started yesterday (March 2) but I cheated a little bit and started mine last Saturday.
I finished it up last night, and I have to say, if you don't like making tr cluster stitches, this is not the pattern for you!
I made mine in shaded greens, to give it a spring-time feel. I really like how it turned out!
It is a vintage pattern, and a little bit confusing, but a good picture helps immensely!

It is so much fun to see the other members of the group's doilies, everyone seems to choose different colors!

You can find the pattern for the Fern Leaf Doily here:
http://freevintagecrochet.com/free-doily-patterns/star137/fern-leaf-doily-pattern


And the Threadies group is here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/730048977081281/

We would love to have you join us!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Spotlight on a Crocheter: Vikki Hooks

Today I have a special guest post for you from the very talented and appropriately named Vikki Hooks. Vikki creates some of the most beautiful doilies I have ever seen! She has an Etsy shop where she sells her doilies, and also her favorite DMC thread. Here is Vikki's story (and pictures of some of her gorgeous doilies!):

Hello, I was surprised when Ann asked if she could interview me for her blog; how hard can it be to talk about myself, right?  Not as easy as I thought!  I guess the place to start would be the beginning...my name is Vikki Hooks.  It describes me pretty well....


As a young child I saw the women in my family---my mom, and great grandma come to mind--having hooks and thread in their hands.  If it wasn't in their hands, the ball of thread would be seen sitting on the table with a hook jabbed through it...just waiting for someone to pick it up.  I must have been five or so; I wasn't in school yet.  I picked up that ball with the hook in it and went and hid in a closet. I remember my great grandma looking for me and I knew I was going to be in trouble when she found me.  So as that closet door opened and she looked down at me, I saw a small smile.  Instead of scolding me, for touching something that wasn't mine, she sat down beside me, and we made my first chain! I don't know how long we were in the closet together on the floor playing with thread, but it was just enough to light the fire.  I think about her from time to time when I pick up my hook. I have one of her doilies, and her hook, and a pair of scissors in a shadow box on my craft room wall.  


I am married to a wonderful man that supports me and this crazy addiction.  We have three daughters, none who share my love of crochet, and 7 grandchildren, 2 girls and 5 boys.  Only one of my grandkids shows any interest in learning to move the hook and that is my 13 year old grandson.  I have learned I do not have as much patience as my great grandma.  It doesn't help that he wants to do it all and not start out with a chain..



Like I said my husband is my biggest fan.  If it weren't for him I wouldn't have jumped through the red tape in order to be able to offer DMC Cebelia thread in my Etsy shop.  I came home upset from spending hours looking for DMC Cebelia at Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's and Michael's and whatever other shops I hit. I learned that most of those stores were not going to sell it on their shelves because shelf space was too expensive, the thread price went through the roof to $6.99 a ball, and it didn't move fast enough.  So that is why I started selling the thread, to put it into as many hands that want it at a reasonable cost.  I do not make much on the sale of thread, but that is ok because I am an addict and I am protecting my supply!

 Asked why I would recommend DMC, the answer is really simple; it is dye fast, has an awesome sheen, launders up well, it is a tight thread, and doesn't fray or get that swollen and frumpy look after being washed. It just gives super results.  I just think it is the best thread available to make heirloom quality doilies. Lizbeth threads are nice and have lots of colors to choose from, I have used it, and will use it if a customer sends it to me, but to be honest--I know I am going to get in trouble here, but it is made in China and I try not to buy Chinese goods.


I opened my shop with the encouragement of my daughters. I think they were wondering what they would do with all the doilies if something happened to me.  I do one craft show a year and do really well.  I was asked how I price my doilies—pricing them is hard.  I won't get rich making doilies, or selling thread; it is just a means to keep my supply at hand, and my hands moving at a hobby I enjoy.  When I stop enjoying what I do, I will stop making doilies and playing with thread.  I don't see that happening anytime soon. 


I like textured doilies--that way people know which way is the right side and wrong side.  It is a pet peeve of mine to see a doily upside down.  As for favorite designers, Patricia Kristoffersen is one. I have all her pattern books and am truly excited when she publishes a new one.  I like Kathryn White, but I have to be in the mood for her doilies as she does a lot of piece work and I am not a fan of piece work. And I like Ann's potholders and revamped vintage patterns. But if I like the look of the pattern it doesn't matter who designs it.  I have found that I really like some of the Japanese patterns, and find myself becoming a hoarder of those. It is a relatively new obsession.  


I have a blog.  I try to blog once a week.  I have found some wonderful people who share my passion for thread and crochet:http://byhooks4u.blogspot.com
 My store can be found here:



Thank you for sharing your story with us, Vikki! I can't wait to see your next creation!
All photos are  used courtesy of Vikki Hooks.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Irish Blessings Doily: A Free Crochet Pattern For You


Today I have a special doily pattern for you. I want to thank Debbie Boivin Kos, who suggested I make a shamrock doily, and  Deborah Morris Armstrong for giving it the name "Irish Blessings." 
I would also like to thank Jolene Richards Larson, who came up with a very  cute idea. She suggests that you make one of the  shamrocks with 4 petals instead of three. Just work it at random, either on Rnd 8 or Rnd 19. When you display the doily, you can ask folks if they can find the "Lucky 4-Leafed Clover."  I know my grandkids are going to love searching for the lucky clover!  

Thank you all, ladies, I hope you like it!

Irish Blessings Doily
  
By Elizabeth Ann White
For BellaCrochet

Size: About 12” across

Skill Level: Intermediate—for those who are familiar with working with size 10 thread and steel hooks, and who have a thorough understanding of the basics of crochet

Special Stitch:
For Shamrock: Ch 4; in  4th ch from hook, work 3 dc, ch 3, sl st, (ch 3, 3 dc, ch 3, sl st) 2  times (3 petals made; all petals are worked into the first ch of the ch-4)

Materials:
Size 10 Crochet Cotton Thread:
  150 yards each White and Green (Aunt Lydia’s thread in White and Myrtle Green were    used for model)
Size 7 (1.65mm) Steel Crochet Hook

Note:
To  work between petals,  insert hook between the last sc of one petal and the first sc of the next petal

Doily
Rnd 1: With green, ch 4, 15 dc in 4th ch from hook, join with sl st in top of ch-4. Fasten off. (First 3 chs count as first dc; 16 dc made)

Rnd 2: Join white with sc in first st, ch 2, skip next dc, (sc in next dc, ch 2, skip next dc) around, join. (8 sc, 8 ch-2 sps made)

Rnd 3: Ch 1, (sc, ch 1, 3 dc, ch 1, sc)  in each ch-2 sp around, join. (8 petals made)

Rnd 4: Working behind petals, ch 3, (sl st between next 2 petals, ch 3) around, join with sl st in first ch of beg ch-3.

Rnd 5: Ch 1, (sc, ch 1, 5 dc, ch 1, sc) in each ch-3 sp around, join with sl st in first sc.

Rnd 6: Working behind petals, ch 4, (sl st between next 2 petals, ch 4) around, join with sl st in first ch of beg ch-4.

Rnd 7: Ch 1, (sc, ch 1, 3 dc, tr, 3 dc, ch 1, sc) in each ch-4 sp around, join with sl st in first sc. Fasten off.

Rnd 8: Join green with sl st between last and first petals (see Note above), ch 3, skip first sc and dc on first petal, (sc, ch 8, work Shamrocksee Special Stitch—ch 8, sc) in second dc, ch 3, skip next 3 sts, (sc, ch 8, work Shamrock, ch 8, sc) in next dc, ch 3, *sl st between petals, ch 3, skip first sc and dc on next petal, (sc, ch 8, work Shamrock, ch 8, sc) in next dc, ch 3, skip next 3 sts, (sc, ch 8, work Shamrock, ch 8, sc) in next dc, ch 3; repeat from * around, join with sl st in joining sl st. Fasten off.

Rnd 9: Join white with sc in center dc of center petal on first shamrock, ch 9, (sc in center of next shamrock, ch 9) around, join with sl st in first sc.

Rnd 10: Ch 1, work 9 sc in each ch-9 sp around, join with sl st in first sc.

Rnd 11: Ch 1, sc in first sc, ch 5, skip next 2 sc, (sc in next sc, ch 5, skip next 2 sc) around; ch 2, to create joining sp  join with dc in first sc. 

Rnd 12: (Ch 1, sc, ch 3, sc) in joining sp, *ch 5, (sc, ch 3, sc) in next ch-5 sp; repeat from * around, ch 2, join with dc in first sc for joining sp.

Rnds 13-17: (Ch 1, sc, ch 3, sc) in joining sp, *ch 5, skip next ch-3 sp, (sc, ch 3, sc) in next ch-5 sp; repeat from * around, ch 2, join with dc in first sc for joining sp.
           
Rnd 18: Ch 1, sc in joining sp, ch 7, (sc in next ch-5 sp, ch 7) around, join with sl st in first sc. Fasten off.

Rnd 19: Join green with sc in first ch-7 sp, ch 4, work Shamrock, ch 4, *sc in next ch-7 sp, ch 4, work Shamrock, ch 4; repeat from * around, join with sl st in first sc. Fasten off.





Special thanks and many "Irish Blessings" to my wonderful testers, Jewel Fernley, Jolene Ortiz, and Rosina Smith!

Copyright BellaCrochet 2015. All rights reserved.  Please do not distribute or post this pattern on any website, group or page; please share the Link to this page only. 

If you enjoy the Irish Blessings Doily, I hope you will try some of my other free patterns:


  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

And the Winner Is:

Kaylene 

Kaylene, if you will send me an email at:
bellacrochet.info@yahoo.com

and let me know which pattern you would like, I will get it right out to you.

Today is the first day of the Threadie  Facebook group's February Crochet Along (CAL.)
We will be making this gorgeous Diamond Points Crochet-A-Long Doily, designed by Cylinda Mathews of Crochet Memories. If you have not already, I hope you will join us! I think it is going to be lots of fun!
Threadies


Thanks to everyone who entered the contest!
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