All posts by Kristin McCormick

Sterling Silver Hammered Ring

I have been slowly adding to my metalsmithing supplies and have finally reached a point where I am able to make rings (well, almost, I do not have a ring mandrel yet). I made my very first 4mm sterling silver, hammered ring today. As it is my first attempt, I already see many things that I can improve upon, but for a first try, it isn’t half bad, especially since it fit from the beginning. I did not have to make any size adjustments. I will have no qualms about wearing it until I make a better one.

Sterling silver hammered ring

After putting my photo lights to rest, I realized that the inside of the ring could have used some polishing and the outside could have used some additional polishing, but you get the idea.

I have had this idea for a ring for years. It is to be my anniversary ring. I thought that it would be much more fun to make one rather than to buy one. No, this is not it, but it is the first step in my plans. Now, I just have to practice making rings. It is going to be a fun year getting everyone’s ring sizes for Christmas presents next year!

Happy Creating!

Kristin

Blue Coral Necklace and Earrings

I love matching earring and necklace sets. As far as I am concerned, you can never have too many.

I made the following earrings and necklace out of sterling silver for the earwires, wire hoops, and necklace hook, blue glass and zinc tube beads for the drops of the earrings, blue coral, blue glass, zinc tube beads and white seed beads for the necklace.

Blue Glass Earrings

You cannot see it, as it is the back of the necklace, but I used a small length of sterling silver chain to make the necklace a variable length. I wear a LOT of blue and wanted to be able to wear this with many different styles of shirt.

Blue Coral and Glass Necklace

Happy Creating!

Kristin

Winter Scarf and Earmuffs

I will probably ruminate on creativity a bit here when I have the time and the thoughts behind it. It may get a little rambly and may not always make sense, as it is a sort of stream of consciousness to rediscover and define my creativity.

For me, creativity can mean so much. It can be the act of making – whether it be new invention, remake, improvement, it doesn’t matter. It can be doing, I imagine before the year is out, I will figure out how it is a state of being. I have also discovered over the years that frequent small creative successes can be so much better for my psyche than one or two large successes, at least as far as crafting goes. So for today, I finished a scarf and earmuff set. I have had the earmuffs completed for over a year now, but the scarf started as a infinity scarf that was a pretty good failure. I ripped it apart and have recreated it for today. I am much happier with the second attempt and I hope you enjoy the result.

It wraps around me twice and ties in a single knot.
It wraps around me twice and ties in a single knot.

I made the scarf in single crochet in the back loop, crocheted in the long. This gives a false ribbed appearance.  I think it is approximately 210-250 stitches long and is nine rows, not counting the bouclé row. The scarf could be made with however many stitches and rows you prefer. I wanted a fairly chunky scarf, so this is two worsted weight wool yarns crocheted together. There is a blue yarn and a green yarn of the same type.

Here you can see the front of the boucle stitch that I used for the fringe.
Here you can see the front of the bouclé stitch that I used for the fringe.

The last row is a bouclé stitch that creates a nice fringe that runs the length of the scarf.

Here is the backside of the bouclestitch.
Here is the backside of the bouclé stitch.

You can read about how I made the earmuffs in a previous post here.

Matching set of earmuffs and scarf.
Matching set of earmuffs and scarf.

With the seriously cold weather that is imminent here in Indiana, I think that I will truly appreciate the scarf and earmuffs. I finished them just in time.

Happy Creating!

Kristin

365 Days of Creativity

I have turned into a slug. I realized that my creativity feels at an all time low (not quite true, but certainly close). I had forgotten that creativity, like so many other skills and abilities can go stale. I need to practice, practice, practice. Also, after the holidays and Christmas I am feeling a little consumery and need to create (feeling a little like Dr. Frankenstein, “It’s alive!” as I come out of my consumer coma.) So, my plans for this year:

365 Days of Creativity

I will create something every day. It can be simple, dinner. It can be complicated, shelving for my loft. The key here is to create something that will benefit someone in some way. That someone could be me as in the case of dinner, but it could also benefit my husband, sister, mother, friend, co-worker, dog, stranger, bird in the tree. Be prepared for some bad photos with bad lighting on occasion, heck, maybe a good create would be a good photo, or a good photo booth, who knows.

Tonight, I created happy dogs. Easy I know, but I am starting small. It creates the added bonus of a Happy Kristin, too.

KC wants attention
KC wants attention.
Petey found his ball
Petey found his ball and brought it to me.
Now, throw the ball already
Now, throw the ball already!!
Woohoo! I get to catch the ball!
Woohoo! I caught the ball!
Let's go play in the snow, okay?
Let’s go play in the snow, okay?

Happy Creating!

Kristin

Close up of Christmas ball earrings.

Christmas Advent: Tree Pendant and Christmas Ball Earrings

I had to make a necklace and earring set for myself for Christmas this year. I realized that I do not have any holiday jewelry and that just seemed to be a very strange oversight on my part. So, here are my Christmas ball earrings and tree pendant. I am really happy with how they turned out. I did a happy dance!

Pic of tree pendant and Christmas ball earrings

I used sterling silver 18 gauge wire for the tree and ball shapes, 26 gauge for the garlands, and 21 gauge for the ear wires. I have some really pretty glass red florets, glass green diamond shapes, and silver delicas that I used to make the garlands.

Close up of tree pendant

The pendant was a lot of fun to make. I just used a pair of flat-nose pliers to make the shape, bending it until I liked the general style.

Close up of Christmas ball earrings.

I just love the Christmas ball earrings. I did hammer the 18-gauge wire after I made the ball shapes.

I am so happy with how these turned out and will be wearing them to work tomorrow (probably every other day until Christmas too).

Happy Crafting,

Kristin

Paper Punch Ornament

Okay, I am 2 days late with this post, but you will have to forgive me, between class, a major migraine, and a massive snowstorm, I have been a little bogged down.

In my last post, I used this wonderful paper punch and I just have not been able to resist using it again. This time, I used gift-wrap for the paper cut-outs. I have discussed before my one-time hobby of making temari balls. I have massive amounts of supplies left over from this hobby and I raid it regularly for other projects. For this project, I nabbed a wrapped ball that I had already made. I use stuffing and wrap it with loads of sewing thread. I was a little more proactive this time and added my hanger before I got started adding the paper punch-outs.

Paper ornament with paper punches

I cut out loads of the paper punch-outs and used beading pins and sequins to attach them to the ball. I started at the bottom of the ball and went around in a spiral adding paper punch-outs as I went around and up the ball.

Paper ornament close up

It is a really easy ornament to make and only took me about a 1/2 hour. This does not include the time it took me years ago to make the thread-wrapped ball, but that only took me about 20 minutes at most. You could also use a foam ball for your base as well.

I am really happy with how the ornament turned out.

Happy Crafting!

Kristin

Small photo of paper ornament.

 

Side view of wreath

2013 Christmas Advent: Paper Wreath

Happy Holidays!

Hello, and yes we are still alive. We are doing our annual Christmas Advent. This year we are covering Christmas Decorations. I decided to to do a Christmas wreath and have been playing with paper lately and thus my Christmas Paper Wreath was made.

Finished paper wreath

For supplies:

Foam wreath shape, burlap ribbon, scrapbook paper (paper cutter optional), pins, sequins, paper punch (twine and bells optional)

Supplies needed for paper wreath

The paper punch I chose cuts out a 2 1/2″ shape, so I cut my scrapbook paper into 3″ swathes. This I then ran through my paper punch and cut out my florets.

Paper punch

Once I had all my florets, I wrapped the foam wreath with the burlap ribbon. I used pins to hold the burlap in place (I was trying to keep my supplies to a minimum, but you could use hot glue here if you preferred).

Burlap wrapped foam wreath

I attached the hanger and bells at the very end, but realistically, this would have been the best time. It worked just fine adding these at the end of the project, but I could have hidden them better had I tied them around the wreath before adding the florets.

Next, I started attaching the florets. I have to tell you about my error now. I bought large head beading pins for this project and thought they would be large enough that they would hold the florets by themselves. However, once I tried to hold the florets in place with the pins I discovered that I was wrong. I needed something to go between the pinheads and the florets. You could use just about anything, I chose to use silver sequins. I imagine that small beads would also have been lovely.

Once you put the pin through the floret, use your fingers to bend the floret up into a flower cup shape. This is what gives the florets three dimensions.

Attaching florets to wreath

Just keep pinning the florets to the wreath all the way around, being sure to cover the inside and outside of the wreath.  I made sure that none of the florets were flat on the wreath. I would pull up the edges of the nearby florets so that the edges were all up and none were flat.

Here you can see the burlap ribbon under the florets, but once the wreath is complete, you cannot see the burlap from a regular distance away.

Paper Wreath Close Up with Burlap2

I love the way it turned out. It looks great hanging on my front door.

Side view of wreath

Finished paper wreath

Happy crafting!

Kristin

Paper Wreath Close Up CG

Completed hotpad made from a washcloth and crochet

World’s Best Hot Pads – Made from Washcloths

Completed hotpad made from a washcloth and crochet

This is a very photo heavy how-to to make the best hot pads ever. I learned how to make these from my Aunt Harriet. She wasn’t really my Aunt, she was a friend of my Grandmother’s who the family adopted. Harriet Saine was a wonderful woman and is greatly missed.

Her hot pads are famous in our family. Every year at Christmas she would pull out this gigantic stack of hot pads and every woman (with a house or apartment) would get to pick two. Sometimes Harriet brought so many we would get to chose a third one. When Harriet passed away, I got her supplies for making these hot pads. In her supplies were her crochet hooks. There is one that is completely eroded down to a nub. I had no idea you could even do that to a metal crochet hook. I cannot even begin to create as many of these as Harriet was able to. I am amazed every year I am able to make these for the family that she was able to do this every year for as long as I can remember. This is my homage to Aunt Harriet.

Supplies for the hotpads

The supplies for these hot pads are very few:

Cheap washcloth (this means no embroidered stripes or thick edges)

Crochet thread

1″ plastic rings

Crochet hooks (size 4/2.00mm and size 8/1.50mm)

Pins (optional, though recommended)

Scissors

You really do need to use cheaper washcloths for this project. Cheaper washcloths do not have a high thread count and make it much easier to get the crochet hook through the fabric for the first round of stitching. You also are much better off using plain washcloths, the ones with no embroidered stripes or thick edges. The stripes are very difficult to get a crochet hook through. That is not to say impossible, but it will hurt your hands if you have to force the hook through these stripes very often. I have somehow managed to collect around 50 washcloths to make into hot pads. Eventually, I will have to stop buying them.

The crochet thread can be any sort. I now have a huge collection of thread from variegated, solid, metallic, to threads with differing thickness. I personally prefer the variegated for my hot pads. I really like the effect it makes. I currently have 2 Rubbermaid tubs of crochet thread, and like the washcloths, I may eventually have to stop buying new colors. (I have a bad habit of buying every new variegated skein I find.)

For the plastic rings, you can use any size you prefer, but I tend to buy 3/4″, 1″ or 1 1/4″. I just have to make sure that I grab two of the same size for the set of hot pads (I always make sets of 2).

I use a size 8/1.50mm crochet hook for the first round of stitching and a size 4/2.00mm crochet hook for the decorative round of stitching. The size 8 goes through the fabric of the washcloth much easier and I like a slightly larger hook to make the edging, this is just personal preference though.

To make:

You fold the washcloth in half  and pin it to hold it in place. As you stitch, it tends to drift and you will end up with a lopsided fold. Holding it with the fold closer to you, begin the first single crochet in the upper left hand corner, at the midpoint of the corner.

First single crochet stitches

Continue your single crochet stitching around the corner, the first short side, next full corner, and to the folded edge. Keep stitching along the fold, next full corner, and up the second short side of the washcloth. You stop your stitching at the midpoint of the upper right corner. At this point, you have single crocheted around three sides of the washcloth (1/4 of the way finished).

Single crochet around three sides.

Now you need to open up the washcloth and put the two midpoints together (be sure to remove your pins). This makes what in the origami world is called a balloon fold. You connect all four corners of the washcloth at the top of the hot pad and this creates 4 triangle shaped wings. The photo below shows this fold in a flattened view from the top. You can see the four corners of the washcloth stitched together, although in the photo, the edges are not yet completely stitched. Putting a couple of pins into the wings will again help keep your folds straight and prevent you from having a lopsided hot pad.

Start of second round of single crochet stitches

You stick your crochet hook through the two pieces of fabric at the midpoints of the corners and start single crocheting down the short side (from here on, all the sides are short sides). Continue around the washcloth (you will stitch over your first round of crochet as you go) until you are again back at the top. This should have closed all the sides and created the 4 wings and top and bottom points (1/2 way finished). You are now ready to start the decorative edging. You can also remove all the pins now.

Here the single crochet is finished and you are ready to start the decorative edging.

I switch hooks to the larger size 4/2.00mm hook and double crochet at this point. When I started making these hot pads, I used to make different types of edgings. You can experiment until you find one you like. I like this one and it is very easy and pretty. Single crochet twice and insert the hook under the first single crochet on the opposite wing of the hot pad. You will use this stitch as the post to stitch 3 more double crochet stitches around. Finish off with one single crochet. This completes one scallop. You will make one of these scallops in every other single crochet stitch from the first round.

dc in first sc, *dc around first dc 3 times, sc, skip single crochet and dc in next sc, continue from *

Double Crochet post stitch

First of the three DC stitches

Second of three DC stitches

Third of DC stitches

Decorative Edge Finished

Add Ring

When you finish the edging and are back at the top of the hot pad you will add your plastic ring. You don’t have to add a plastic ring, but so many people like to hang their hot pads from hooks. You can skip this part entirely if you don’t want to hang your hot pads. You single crochet around the ring making sure to completely cover the plastic ring. I finish the ring with one final single crochet back into the hot pad. I tie off the threads and pull the ends inside the hot pad with the crochet hook.

Finished Ring

You have now finished your first hot pad! As I said above, I always make these in pairs and would now start my second one. I can make one hot pad in about an hour (1 and 1/2  if I am interrupted a lot).

Pile of finished hot pads

I have tried to photo the whole process, but if you have any questions, or want another photo, just let me know. I hope you enjoy these hot pads as much as I and my family do!

Happy Crafting,

Kristin

Finished hot pad

Crocheted earmuffs in cream and black wool yarn.

Crafty Challenge 12: Headwarmer – Earmuffs


Crocheted earmuffs in cream and black wool yarn.

Our most recent crafty challenge was to make a headwarmer. This could be in any color, material, style or shape. Cheri was ahead of us all and posted her adorable recycled sweater hat here. We gave ourselves 3 weeks to make this particular challenge as we were all still recovering from the holidays. I had mine done in less than a week and then had to try very had not to talk about it or brag about it. Of course, this early birdness of me is now completely offset by my late posting.

I love earmuffs, but have never been able to find a satisfactory pair. The never stay on my head or they don’t cover my ears very well. I also hate hats as I have very static prone hair. I knew as soon as we started talking about a headwarmer challenge that earmuffs were my challenge.

I bought a cheap set of fleece wrap-around earmuffs for less than $2. I then cut the fleece off the wire and used the wire for the base of my earmuffs. I have some lovely wool yarn, one skein in cream and another in black. I also received this gigantic spool of very fine black alpaca yarn on year for Christmas. I took all three yarns and crocheted my earmuffs with this lovely and warm combination.

Crocheted earmuffs made on wire frame.

I crocheted 4 circles in double crochet, all the same size and just big enough to cover my ears. I then held two of these circles on either side of the ear part of the wire frame and using half-double crochet, I stitched the circles together. I really wanted the double thickness which provides amazing protection from cold and wind. You could also put some stuffing or quilting in between the two circles if you wanted poofy earmuffs (this would be very cute for a child).

After stitching both circles on the frame, I then single crocheted around the length of wire between the ear pieces. To keep from having to weave-in ends, I folded the ends from the ear pieces under the single crochet. This made the back wire a little thicker and made it so I only had the ends from this last stretch to weave-in.

Crocheted earmuffs in black and cream wool yarn.

This completed my earmuffs. This project took me all of about 2 hours and most of that was just figuring out what stitch I wanted to use to make the circles. I have been wearing these for weeks now and just love them. They are comfortable, very warm, and I haven’t had cold ears at all this year!

Happy Crafting!

Kristin

Christmas garland made of wrapping paper.

Ornament Advent: Day 23 Christmas Wrap Garland

One of the greatest benefits of having a crafting family are how ideas are bounced, re-imaged, and re-shaped among us. I really love the Star Ornaments that Loryn made and I also just love the Chinese Fortune Garland that Cheri made. I decided to do something similar to Loryn’s stars and follow Cheri and make a garland. I am very happy with how it turned out!

Christmas garland made of wrapping paper.

Supplies:

Christmas wrap

Paper punch (I used 2″ seal punch)

Glue stick or pen

Yarn, string, or ribbon

Christmas garland made of Christmas wrap and shaped into a wreath.

I had some really shiny Christmas wrap and also had this 2″ seal paper punch. I used the paper punch to cut around 120 pieces out of the Christmas wrap. I then pulled out some thick crochet thread that is a sort-of soft gold color and is ribbonish (flat and about 1/8″ thick). I spread glue on two cut-outs and glued the crochet thread between the two pieces. You do have to be sparing with the glue as the Christmas wrap is very thin. I left around 1/4″ of the yarn visible between the cut-outs.

Christmas Wrapping Paper Garland

My garland is around 12′ long and looks great on a tree! I think this whole garland took me around 45 minutes to make. The other nice thing about this garland is that once you fold up the shapes, it takes up so little space and stores very well.

Christmas Garland made of wrapping paper.

Happy Holidays and Happy Crafting!

Kristin