Maisie Made Logo

Maisie Made Logo

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Card

Saw this on a sweater on Tosh O...had to try a needlepoint version! This works great as a card. I'm wondering if I should put a fir tree to the left.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pictures and More on the Mystery Motif

I jimmied the pattern to get a more defined shape, and smaller version: Work rnds 1 - 3 the same way. Sc evenly around making 4 spikes in the 4th instead of 5th rnd. Just get rid of row 4, with the clusters.
You should look like a goldfish cracker when it's half done. I did not intend this. But it looks good when done:
As I always say, my patterns are just guides, and I was quick with this one, so EYOR!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mystery Motif on The AntiCraft

My best guess as to this shape:
Rnd 1 Ch 3, 2 dc in ring, ch 4, 3 tr in ring, ch 4, 3 dc in ring, ch 4, 3 tr in ring, ch , join with slip st to top of ch-3. (4 ch-4 spaces) Rnd 2 Ch 4 (counts as dc and ch-1), *skip 1 dc, dc in next dc, [(ch 1, dc) three times] in next ch-4 space, ch 2, tr in next tr, ch 1, skip 1 tr, tr in next tr, ch 2, [(dc, ch 1) three times] in next ch-4 space **, dc in next dc, ch 1; repeat from * to ** once more, join with slip st to third chain of ch-4. Rnd 3 Ch 3 (counts as dc), *dc in next ch-1 space, dc in next dc, ch 2, skip next ch-1 space, dc in next dc, (dc in next ch-1 space, ch 2, dc in next dc) two times, dc in next ch-2 space, ch 2, 3 tr in next ch-1 space, ch 2, dc in next ch-2 space, dc in next dc, (dc in next ch-1 space, dc in next dc) two times, ch 2 **, dc in next dc; repeat from * to ** once more, join with slip st to top of ch-3. Rnd 4 Ch 3 (counts as dc), *dc4tog in next dc, dc in next dc, ch 3 skip next ch-2 space, dc4tog in next dc, ch 1, skip 1 dc dc in next 2 dc, ch1 skip 1 dc, dc4tog in next dc, ch 3 , skip next ch-2 space, dc in next tr, dc4tog in next tr, dc in next tr, ch 3, skip next ch-2 space, dc4tog in next dc, ch1, skip 1 dc, dc in next 2 dc, ch 1, skip 1 dc, dc4tog in next dc, ch 3 skip next ch-2 space**, dc in next dc;repeat from * to ** one more, join with st to top of ch-3. Rnd 5 Ch 1, sc in same st, 1 sc in cluster, 1 sc in dc, 4 sc in 3 ch space, 1 sc in second cluster, ch 7, working in the butt of the chain stitch, sc in second ch from hook, half double crochet in next ch, dc in next 2 ch, tr in last ch, skip 4 sts and slip stitch into next st,* sc into 3rd cluster, sc 4 times in 3 ch space,sc in dc, sc in cluster, sc in dc,4 sc in next 3 ch space, sc in cluster, repeat spike by ch 7, sc in second ch from hook, half double crochet in next ch, dc in next 2 ch, tr in last ch, skip 4 sts. and slip stitch into next** repeat from * to ** 3 more times.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I'm making one of those hats that make you look like your brain is exposed.  It's an i-cord twisted up to look like a brain on a hat, essentially.  I'm going to have to use a beige hat I already made to beat the clock.  The zombie walk is on the 27th.  It's a race against time to see if I can make 20 feet of pink brain i-cord.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gauge Rage

I was reading a page on crochet, where the woman admitted that she prefers to crochet with the yarn held tight to the barrel of the hook in order to get an appropriate gauge.  She did not admit.  She boasted that she crochets tight.  We've all heard it, straight from s^#@ crocheters/knitters say.

First I want to say, I hear you, lady.  I do understand where you are coming from.  Since you have hooks of different sizes, and you have said hooks at your disposal, why play around?  Why, you've seen those pictures of swatches done with a J hook and K hook and isn't the difference measurable?  Isn't that important to your overall enjoyment of the project?  Doesn't each and every stitch matter in the completed whole, I mean, have you seen missed stitches?  Isn't the scale incredible?  How subtle small changes make in the overall finished and perfect...

Let me stop you right here.  See, I can't represent this idea without getting pretentious.  Because it IS snotty, and I do suggest this poor woman step outdoors once in a while and gaze up at the heavens and consider how small SHE is.  Further, maybe making everything measurable in art is a mistake.

I know how it is measurable.  I understand gauge as a ratio between stitches and length. This is due to the circumference of the hook or needle to that of the yarn or fiber you are using and the stitches you make ought to be somewhat consistent.  I see how that is attractive and I do try to be consistent in my crochet, knitting, and needlepoint.  That means making my stitches approximately the same in an appropriate way for the individual piece.  But to sit there through a whole project with the yarn tight around the needle would be counterproductive for several reasons.

First, it is not attractive.  It is not attractive to clench.  The finished piece will be like a picture of a starving person.  It will lack the fluff for which the yarn was designed.  Before knitting or crochet there is the spinning of the yarn; an art in itself, long neglected as an art form by the machine-made yarn manufacturers of nowadays.  That art is lost with tight, unrelenting crochet with no slack.  Your yarn is your material and you should showcase it.  The cheapest yarn can look regal with the right tension.

Secondly, who are you kidding?  Is the magic crochet fairy going to come in the night and "measure" your stitches and make sure that each one was made with the yarn tight to the barrel of the hook?  Is the recipient of your work, family, friend, client or otherwise going to check?  Only you know how tightly you worked a piece.  The tightness of the piece does not make it better in quality.  Ever put a square knot in a plastic bag and have it rip, whereas the untied bag does not rip?  Even though plastic bag handles are two ply, the same principle is at work in your yarn.  The stitches you are making will rub against one another for the rest of the life of the piece.  Do not worship your stitches, just respect them.

Third, good things happen to those who live within the guidelines of moderation.  There is such a thing as too loose, and I've seen it and I do know what the woman was afraid of doing.  Those loose, ridiculous strands that stick out because of a careless lack of tugging the slack.  It is not attractive to have loose strands.  That one strand that can ruin a huge piece, like an afghan or sweater.  Well, those stitches that are not consistent, they are called, "mistakes" and everyone makes them.  Living as if each stitch is a potential mistake is no way to crochet, though.  SUCH IS LIFE.  Slight variations in a piece can mean the difference between master and novice.  Find the Goldilocks way you can crochet, not some imagined perfection.   

One thing I don't do is a gauge swatch.  I make a gauge "whatever I'm trying to make".  I know the differences that can be cumulatively made throughout a piece because of my "way" of doing needlework.  I will not count the stitches in an inch of a 20 stitch piece, and divide the stitches into the inch to find the blah blah blah so it matches the yarn label with the pattern with my "style".  I make the thing, it fits me or somebody, and then if I need to I adjust.  Because Newton was partly wrong, that's why. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ice Dying Rainbow Yarn

You need red, yellow, and blue cold water dye, a dozen ice cubes and salt.  Wind the yarn around your arm into a hank shape and lay it on a screen or a rack like I have.  Place the ice cubes on the yarn evenly spread so the yarn will be soaked through as they melt.  Sprinkle the red, yellow, and blue dye so that the colors overlap slightly.  I put some red on the blue at the end to make a purple.  Orange comes through by yellow mixing with the red, and green is produced by the blue mixing with the yellow.  Over the top, sprinkle salt to set the dye.  Then, wait until the ice melts.

I helped the ice along a bit by making sure the colors were evenly distributed with a pipette, using clear tepid water, but that's not necessary.  Try leaving it alone, don't fuss or it will ruin your yellow and turn your purple brown.

Wash the yarn by hand using very cold water.  Rinse until the water runs clear.  I hung mine to dry and let it rest before I put it on a toilet paper tube to store.

Not bad for a first try.  I used cotton, so it's not as bright as some other materials.  I like how it came out, though, and I plan on using it for a trim.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Braving Hamilton College on it's 200th Birthday

I didn't want to go to Hamilton College today.  I imagined Hogwarts after the Ministry takeover having a "partay" with their pinkies up and us walking in, frumpy and ridiculously underdressed.  But it was nothing of the kind.  The place was empty except for a few nice other couples, some curious chipmunks, and squirrels who jump like dolphins; gratuitously and for no other reason but to look good.  Root Glen is awesome.  After you get over the location, it's actually really nice.

 Here's Dave starting out in the front part of the garden.  I was like, "We'll just look at some peonies and then we're leaving".  I'm terrified of Hamilton cops, thinking about how if New York Mills cops are awful, and New Hartford mall cops are bad, Hamilton College cops must be the most seriously petty folks on the planet.  "You're not wearing tweed.  That's a $500 fine each time.", or something to that effect.  

Dave was calm and I did settle down and have a good time.

"What can cops do?", you might be wondering.  Give you a hard time.  "So?", you wonder further.

See, you're the type that gives me a hard time.


 Here's a peony.  We looked.  I'm like, yep.

But then we stayed, because there were no other people around, it was quiet, and I figured everyone had gotten drunk and went inside.


Geranium.  A normal, regular geranium.  I'm so used to the irregular kind, I forgot there were these.

Phlox.  I used to grow this when I was a kid.  Very hardy, very pretty plant with many varieties.  They all have a certain look, though.

Tulips.  In the middle of the woods with a bunch of different ferns.

I've been thinking about making crochet daisy-chains.  Something you could wear on your head for a wedding or a necklace.  Something kind of low key, though. I can't stand screaming weirdness (steam punk) because I came out of the earth tone crazed 90's.  I saw these and was happy they looked so healthy and flourishing.

These were the first people we saw, there, over my right shoulder.  They minded their own business and did not ask me if I was the supervisor.  They did not ask to lend or borrow DVDs or CDs.  They did not ask me if I worked there, had kids, a job, was married or divorced, liked candy, was vegan or believed in the propagation of vicious human evil.  They did not sell, they did not want to buy, there were no songs of our respective people sung or music played, there was not even "Hi.", but merely some nods to politely acknowledge our existence.  I was relieved.  

More Peonies

Somehow, a tree with miniature tiger lillies?
Me, in Hemlock/Tulip Patch

Here's Dave down at the end of the path with all the bridges.  I like this path, because there's no guard rails to insult your intelligence.  No Disney, my family and I are not cattle, thank-you, absence of guard rails.

And the path is a really pretty color.  They all have gutters now, so you could go on a rainy day.  They all lead down to the ravine under the bridges.

There's a pine going out of there that made the sunlight look dramatic.  I'm so glad we went.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

WIPs and UFOs

It occurs to me that some people might want to actually see my atrocities...that is, the stuff I make that really isn't worthy of the title of "finished".  They may never be, but they are cool.  I try stuff twice, and if it doesn't work for me, I will abandon it.  That being said, here's some of my "eh"s.

 This is a curb chain bracelet with black and red pearl cotton woven into the links.  I like doing these, but I didn't add as many strands as I'd like, but I went ahead with it to see what it looks like.  Now I could do the other side the same, or take it out and add more strands.  Since I can't decide, it will never happen.

 This is a rainbow circle double crochet piece folded in half for a coin purse.  It's awaiting a liner and a zipper, both of which I have.  It will be cute at the end, sort of along the lines of my finished watermelon zipper purse.
I was so pleased with this one that I made this:

 Same idea, only much bigger.  There's a certain "instinct" you need while you're increasing stitches in the round, and sometimes you got it and sometimes, you get this:


It's not terrible, but it's not perfect either.  I'm not scrapping this by no means, it would make a perfect pillow.  I need to line it with some pantyhose and stuff it with polyester filling. 

Now, I love this top.  It's really nice, the shaping actually turned out well, the bottom fits nicely.  But I'm just at a roadblock.  Should I put sleeves on it?  What should I do with the neckline?  No leaving it like that...bare edged.  Should I put shells on it?  Long sleeves, short?  What am I going to do with it?  The yarn is some sort of sport weight yarn I treated myself to one day, because I usually get worsted acrylic yarn.  

  This is some sort of bag...that a couple smurfs got recycled for.  The new movie was coming out at the time, and the blue/white thing was everywhere.  It is knit in the round, on double pointed needles, which is fun, but I think I used a gauge a bit to small for the yarn.  Or I knit to tightly.  This just screams I need practice, I think.  But it has charm.  I never saw the movie, but I was a fan of the terrible cartoon that even the creators were upset about in the end.

 This is not a fail.  I finished it kinda and I actually carry thread crochet projects around in it.  It is ridiculously colored, though, and I can't picture people other than me actually liking it.  It's got a nice shape, but it's sort of a negative image of what people are into, color-wise.  But I did not work hard on the chain band, and I would never seriously sell it as a piece of work I did.  I dunno...I have high standards about what people like.

 This is "The Beast" who was supposed to be "The Devil" but look at that decidedly cat face.  I like him, he's mine, I think it's adorable but I think the status quo doesn't understand what adorable is because I'm a hipster with low self-esteem (at least in this area).  I've just noticed people generally like the "McDonald's-told-me-to-like-this" perfect sweatshop thing, and the more it looks like a million other things, it is ok to like it because it is "normal".  There are more of that kind of people out there than the person who likes the OOAK thing, no matter how many times this is said online, "at" me while working at the craft store, and to one another like normal people talk.  I know this because I, too, want the homogenized thingy in most cases, and I am not somehow "above" or "below" the average American.  "The Beast" is yours for 10 million dollars and a test you must go through designed by the girls I went to elementary school with to determine your humanity level.

 I like the crocodile stitch.  Maybe to much, but I'm still going to do it when it goes out of style.  I think sometimes I should do Catherine's Wheel instead, because I never see it online except under the heading "vintage".  So this is the beginning of a lace crocodile stitch glove.  I have to work on the cuff, and I dunno what I want to do with it.  But I like crocodile stitch in miniature.  I'm doing more necklaces next, because I love how it turned out in only two rows:
 Yeah, I wear this:
 People seem to like it, I don't know if they like IT or the colors, which I sorta think are fruity and loud.  But I love the stitch, it's fun.  Speaking of fruity, don't adjust your screen, you are really seeing these.

This is a fun craft
where you punch
through card stock
to make holes to
embroider into.

I'm not done with the stem and leaves yet on the peach, but they are nice and I'm happy with how they turned out.  I just need to work on punching the lengths more consistently.

When I was working on the rose scrubbies, I made some acrylic flowers to get used to doing it.  I put a stem on one and now I use it to keep my tiny thread-crochet steel hooks in.  They go all the way through the stem (which is a knitted green cotton I-cord).  There are 4 hooks in it right now, and it keeps them together, safe for when I need them.  I made the pot in high-school ceramics.

This is a broomstick lace bracelet.  I need flower buttons for it and I really want daisy ones.  I always see stuff I don't need and influences me to make something that makes buying the thing necessary.  Then I forget where I saw what, and the thing sits in WIP land forever.

  Can you crochet embroidery thread?  Yes, yes you can.  Note how the unused embroidery thread looks better than the rose I tried to crochet.  I'd recommend staying looser than I did here and using a B steel crochet hook.  Make sure you're catching all 6 strands, that's why I use the larger hook.  Otherwise your piece will be shabby like the poor slip stitch rose above.  I've thought about spinning the embroidery thread.  Why this instead of pearl cotton, you might wonder?  Well, I love the sheen on the embroidery thread.  You can find things in pearl cotton, but don't you get tired of the same old colors?  I have multi-color pearl cotton that I've done similar things with, and of course it needs some starching, but I've had good results. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

5 Different Types of Crafts Later

So, I'm still doing Crocodile Stitch.  Today I made these Fingerless Gloves:
On the left is the top, left hand.  The right is the underside of the right hand.  Addictive stitch, is all I can say.  Three dimensional stitches are like that for me.  Anyways, they are both the same.  I'm happy my work is coming out more consistently and I don't have to try so hard anymore.  This is acrylic yarn by Impeccable, and I've had pretty good luck with it in turn of stiffness and price.  Size G hook.

This is not an escapist activity.  You have to be mindful about it.  Someone once told me they could ignore a bomb going off while they knit (good for you).  Not me, though.  I actually care how it looks in the end.  Practice, practice.  I do skip around crafts all the time, but crochet continues to capture my imagination.  Knitting...I like, but it's slower.  Knitting would capture the paper pusher who told me she likes to "get away" from her life with it.  Crochet only puts me in tune with life.  (Knitting makes me frustrated).

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My New Blue Scheme


I remember really wanting to learn to do cross stitch when I was six or seven.  At that age every craft I saw or thought I saw, I wanted to learn to do.  I also called rice cakes "saxaphone" because of its similarity to Styrofoam, which caused confusion during snack time.  No, I was not the brightest crayon in the drawer, but it's the thought that counts.

My Mom was patient and usually let me try something if it didn't seem dangerous.  Believe me, though, I could make the thing dangerous if I tried hard enough.  One day she came across a large plastic board with holes in it at a garage sale and I convinced her that it would be a good idea to get it for me.  I had a huge yarn needle and I did make a very pretty picture of a flower growing out of a pot with some multi-colored yarn.  I did it all free hand with no chart, and to be fair it was primitive.  But once again, it's something I finished, and that was cool.  My baby sitter knew a thing or two about stitching and told me what the name of each stitch was as I went along.  As I saw it as my own invention, I wasn't excited about the stitch names. How could she know what I was doing?  I had "invented" this "needlepoint" thing.

Years went by and I remember throwing the board away for our big move to New York from Illinois.  It's just a thing, wouldn't matter if I had it now, really.  But I do think about other little girls or boys who really might like to cross stitch but can't really fathom the smallness of Aida cloth, and want a pretty picture of their own invention.  Linen isn't consistent either, rendering embroidery nearly impossible for me to this day.  So I've been trying to crochet with a stitch that will give the effect of the board I had when I was a kid.  Here's what I have so far:
On the right is a snippet of 14-Count Aida cloth to scale compared to the crochet on the left.  I used a size G hook and Red Heart Soft White Super Saver yarn.  The blocks are 10X10 and measure about 6 by 6 1/2 inches.  I'd like to make larger ones so there's room for an interesting picture, but not so large as to seem daunting or impossible for a beginning stitcher.  The great thing about this is, unlike the board, it can be pinned to bags, hung on the wall, part of a blanket, anything...and really used, which I remember being the most exciting part of making something.  A needle wouldn't be necessary, you could put a piece of tape on the yarn to cross stitch, or use a safety pin and drag the yarn through the hole, simulating a needle.  Or of course, you could use a plastic yarn needle (I always lost those).  

This piece is the same type of yarn, Warm Brown in Red Heart Super Saver with a G hook, just two more blocks so it's a 12 X 12 piece measuring 7 1/2 inches by 7 1/2 inches.  The cross stitching is done in "Jiffy", which is a tad heavier and has a mohair appearance.  It's all acrylic yarn, though!  Wow, huh?  Well, I think it's pretty, and I want people to see this as something a kid could do.  I like worsted acrylic yarn for projects like these, and depending on the colors, it does not look like the screaming orange itchy thing you try to lose on purpose.  The squares are really easy to see, all you need is a little patience.  Learning to make the back neat was really hard for me.  I could try one day for the famous "same on the front as the back" but another time.  Anyways, my "new" idea, based on a childhood memory.  I'd really like to open a shop making kits like these.