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 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:
 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)

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

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

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!

If you would like to purchase an ad-free copy of this pattern for a small fee, please visit my Etsy shop:  Irish Blessings
I am offering a paid version of this pattern for the convenience of  my customers who prefer an easy to read, printable and ad-free PDF. You will be able to easily save the pattern to your Etsy account as well as your computer or other device.

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. DO NOT make videos or tutorials of it for distribution on YouTube or any other site. 
This pattern has been tested for accuracy and clarity, and I can offer no additional information, photos or help with it.

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