Patio Lanterns: DIY doily projects for a sunny weekend

I’m having a blast with the new Jah Doily blog and find the short posts rather liberating. As much as I love analyzing and going into depth on things that I encounter it can sometimes become adherent to post item. Turning off my brain every now and then and just proclaiming “I like this” feels very freeing. However I have been also feeling a lack of creativity and struggling to come up with new projects.

It turns out the solution was rather simple. Continue reading

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Paper Passions

I had this wonderful post for you, it was all about paper projects for the holidays. It had great images, links to fun projects; it was witty, personal and timely. But alas, after two weeks of updating, adding, altering and tweaking, with the click of one little button it is gone! Perhaps it wasn’t as fantastic as I give it credit for but, now that it is lost forever, who is to say other wise. Since I haven’t the heart to make it all over again, I’ll give you the synopsis. Continue reading

Doily It Up: DIY Doily’s

Can anyone have too many doilies? Well, yes but if you are going to be overloaded with them make the ones you have count. And what better way than to make your own!

Take a Seat

I was a collector of doilies long before I knew how to crochet but part of my obsession stems from a fascination of where they came from. The care that went into their creation and their travels from there on are endlessly fascinating, much like a used book. I what to know who the carefully penned name on the title page belonged to. Did they enjoy the book? Did they get rid of it because they felt cheated by the ending, did it live a long life on their bookcase gathering dust until their death, a move? Were they like me and carefully reviewed their inventory, removing loved items to make room for new finds? Did they suffer the same anxiety and remorse as they brought them to their favorite used book store with the hope that they would find a good home?

It may sound like a lot to ask of any inanimate object and while I may never be able to find the answers to these questions the pondering fascinates me. Unlike books, textiles also pose the question of why and by whom was it made. Where it is unlikely that I will ever publish a book to add into the mix, I can make doilies.

My first crochet project

Now I must confess, I learnt to crochet very recently and have not made many projects yet but the few I have done have been doilies. I won’t pretend I’m qualified to lead you through the process, instead I’m giving you some links to pages I find helpful and some patterns that caught my eye. Crochet in the round is a very organic process so I encourage you to branch out to create your own unique design. I love the freedom doilies offer, when I get tiered of a stitch I just finish up the round and start on a new pattern; when I reach the desired size or lose interest in the piece that’s how I know the piece is done.

I hope you have fun with these and I’d love to see what you come up with.

 Instructions and helpful hints

  • help reading crochet abbreviations
  • How to read charts
  • More on reading charts, has a sample with both chart, written instructions and image of the end result
  • I’m not a big fan of the finished pattern but the step by step illustrated instructions are great. If you want to design your own doily, instead of piecing together several wheels to make their rectangular doily, try freestyling to expand the wheel into your own creation.  
  • Blocking refines the shape and helps the piece lay flat. I don’t like blocking things and often try to avoid this step, both in knitting and crochet, and regret it every time. Block your work! It makes all the difference. 

Birthday Doily on Crochet Galore

Free Patterns of the Web

 
Holiday Crochets on the Web

 

Crochet: the textiler’s sculpture

My first crochet project

When I was last in Victoria, at the check out of a thrift store in Sannich with a large pile of doilies in front of me, the woman behind the till commented that she made doilies. I confessed that I was a knitter but did not crochet. She told me that crocheting was much easier and was backed up but the other woman behind the counter. I have been told this before but never believed it. As a knitter the idea of a hook and a spool of cotton was more than a little intimidating and all those flowery, lacy designs struck me as a major pain. However their words stuck with me and got me thinking that I should learn the art of crocheting. Besides, what type of textiles artist does not know at least the fundamentals of crochet, especially one with an obsession with doilies.   

     

While I will always prefer the doilies of others, I set out to make my own, giving myself a weekend to learn (it is supposed to be easy after all).     

On the Friday I grabbed some sock yarn that was kicking about, dug out a selection of hooks, and googled “how to crochet” on my iphone. In minutes I was hooking a little swatch. It turned out a mess but the second two done the following day turned out looking better. Sunday morning (my weekends are Sunday & Monday) I set up a little home-solo-workshop: he laptop on the windy patio, Lion Brand’s downloaded instruction guide open, some green mercerized cotton and miscellaneous sock yarns at my side, coffee on the other side.     

My first attempts would shrink from one row to the next, when I thought I’d figured out why they began to get wider. Once I sorted out how to keep my rows consistent I realized that the pattern was irregular. After further research and some less than helpful instructions from a Dummies guide I realized I had been hooking through the previous rows instead of under the stitches. What I found really frustrating was that all, or most, of the guides only show how to do the stitches on the initial chain and not how to do them on subsequent rows – which it turns out is different hence my through vs under issues. In the end it was this how-to video that answered my questions.     

I had the single crochet down but was still not in love with hooking. Little swatches of rows going back and forth was just not doing it for me. I wanted circles, doilies are usually in the round and I wanted something that looked like a doily. The mercerized cotton and sock warns were posing problems as well. The cotton was too rigid and I kept getting the hook caught in the sock yarns.     

From my warn stash I pulled a ball of scratchy wool that I found unpleasant to knit with as it was rough on the hands. Turns out it is great for crochet, or at least great for what I want out of crochet. Chunky enough to grow quickly, stiff enough to keep shape, and as with crochet there is less grasping of the fiber the texture didn’t bother me.     

Now that I had a yarn that was cooperative and was working in the round I was starting to enjoy myself. Really once you have the basic stitches down, you are flying. This crochet thing really is easy. Now, I don’t think I will ever hook a scarf let alone a sweater but I can see the potential for future projects. Crochet lends itself nicely to three-dimensional objects and I have wanted to move into more installations and sculptural works for some time. This may be the catalyst.     

Joana Vasconcelos

Some pages I found helpful &/or interesting
Lion Brand’s instuctions inludion video tutorials
Craftmaster has a stitch library and free patterns. I love this little pansy, great for scrap yarns.
Emily Barletta (image below) website & blog 
Joana Vasconcelos crochet crab     

Emily Barletta

Covered in Doilies: DIY Mono-printed Business Cards

I figure if I’m going to be serious about things I should have some business cards. And if I’m going to have business cards they should say something about my work. Mass produced, from the printer business cards don’t seem the right choice for my work. I want something that feels hand-made yet does not come across as crafty. Nothing against crafts, it’s just not what I’m going for.

I stated with a simple text design to satisfy my need for order then began playing with fonts narrowing it down to Courier New and papyrus. The papers I choose were two scrapbooking sheets with a beautiful motif. A light iridescent white on plain white card stock and a pearlized off-white with slightly darker motif. Even with the addition of a bit of blackberry dyed string they were not  quite capturing the right essence.

After a some time spent googling business cards I jotted down a little list of ideas. Below are my tests from this weekend and a couple of links to sites with fun cards. 
dzineblog 
The Craft Begins

I don’t think they are quite there yet but I was really happy with the process and will incorporate it into some paintings (actually I already did but I’m not ready to share those yet. That will be a post for the summer once I’ve worked out a few more things.) I’m more than a little surprised that I didn’t think of this before.

DIY: Doily & Lace Prints

 

  1. With painters tape tack down your sheet to a clean flat surface. If you care what the border looks like make sure that the tape is down evenly so that you have a consistent border. If you are using printer business card sheets, just make sure that the tape does not overlap the perforations. With the back of a spoon or your finger nail, lightly press down the inside edge of the tape to prevent paint from bleeding through.
  2. Trim your lace to desired size, probably either the width or height of your sheet but this is all up to you and depends on the design you want. If you want the lace to cover edge to edge, cut the piece a little longer than the paper. If you are using doilies don’t cut them as they will unravel & fall apart.
  3. Apply paint (I used acrylic) to one side of the lace/doily. Play around with the thickness and amount of paint applied as they will produce different results.
  4. Carefully lay the lace or doily, paint side down on your paper surface. Once it is down, don’t move it.
  5. Lay a clean sheet of scrap paper over the lace/doily and rub gently. You can use either your hand, a rolling-pin or print roller to do this but if you opt for a roller be carefull that neither the lace nor the scrap paper shift as this will make for a messy transfer. Depending on how thick the paint is, the amount you rub will produce different results.
  6. Carefully remove the scrap paper and lift up the lace/doily.
  7. Voila! you have made a print. repeat the above to add texture or patterns. The same lace and doily can be re-used.