Embossing Crochet in the Kitchen

Playing in the kitchen can be fun and I have found ways to bring crochet into the mix. Crochet in the kitchen is not a new thing. I have crochet potholders and trivets, crochet dishtowels hanging from my stove door, some crochet dish cloths, and even crochet handle covers for cast iron pans. However, I have started embossing crochet in my baking.

I made a personal challenge to work my way through a Swedish book on baking this last year, and can say with tasty results. Starting my morning with a cup of hot tea or coffee and a couple of butter cookies have become part of the results.

Embossing Crochet Cookies

Embossing Crochet Butter Cookies

I have played with a couple of butter cookie recipes and found some quick, simple, short cuts that have made these my new go-to snacks. When I start rolling out my cookies, and they are ready to cut, I place a crochet doily over the top of the dough and work my rolling pin over it. This embosses the doily pattern into the fabric. I then take a pizza cutter and cut the dough in squares and bake.

I get to enjoy the doily design with my coffee in the morning. They look like I spent time and effort on them, and when really they are my simple pleasures.

Want to try them for yourself?

Emboss Crochet Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3 ¾ cups flour

Preheat oven to 400°. Place all ingredients in food processor and turn on. Mix for about a minute, or until dough looks like sand, but when pressed sticks together. if it does not seem to come together well, add a little water about 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until it forms a dough.

Pour dough into a bowl or onto plastic wrap and form dough into a flat ball. Place in the refrigerator to chill, at least 10 minutes up to overnight.

Time to roll

Roll dough out to desired thickness (usually between ¼- ½ inches). Place clean doily over dough (you can also place a piece of plastic wrap between dough and doily, but keep it loose). Roll impression of doily into dough. Note: often you kitchen lighting does not show the texture very well, so get down to eye level to get a better look.

Rolling out embossing crochet cookies

Chilling helps embossing crochet

Cut dough into 2 inch squares (or desired shapes), and place on baking sheet (since the cookies do not spear, you can place many on the tray, close together). I usually get a few dozen squares. For best embossing, place cookies in refrigerator for 10 minutes to re-chill. Bake for 8-10 minutes. It may appear that the embossing is not as detailed, but let the cookies cool and the impression will become more visible.

You can use the same technique with any crochet pattern, on any rolled dough. However a cold dough helps keep the embossed image best. Image your next pie with a lace embossed top…it is definitely on my list to try.

My Head and My Hands are Disconnected

As we enter a New Year, I always find myself reflecting on the previous 12 months. This time I found some interesting understandings that I had overlooked; disconnect between my head and my hands.

With the constantly changing dynamics of 2020 I needed to keep my hands busy. I needed to keep a rhythm and flow of yarn in my hand, yet I had difficulty designing. My mind did not want to count stitches. It did not want to think of stitch patterns or colorways. My mind did not want to plan, my hands just wanted to move.

What I realized is something that has always been part of me, that I am most creative when I am calm. This was something that was constantly in peril in the last several months. I have been mentally juggling various situations in various days. Handling the changes of focus that have been tossed my way daily has made its effect, as most of the designs that I released in my pattern line have been designs that I had designed earlier.

However, I have been finding a new way to focus artistically. I have been rediscovering things that inspired me as a child. I stumbled across various little trinkets that had held my attention when I was younger. A couple of mismatched barrettes that I always thought were so pretty. A picture on a playing card, just a couple of kittens, but the monochromatic feel always captivated me. Even some fabric that my mom had purchased to make me a sundress. The dress was never made, but I always smiled when seeing the little rows of yellow roses.

This has helped me feel grounded. I still may not feel like my designing muscles are ready to fully flex, but at least I feel like there is a way to calm my mind for an artistic focus…so maybe I can find a happy medium between my head and my hands.

How the CGOA Master Program Changed My Life

There are points in your life that you can reflect back on and realize that was where everything went in a different direction. For me one such point is the CGOA Masters Advanced Stitches & Techniques Program. Some may recognize my name as a teacher or designer or even past president of CGOA, but none of that would be true if not for that portfolio.

I remember when I first learned of the program, when Advanced Stiches & Techniques was first released in May of 2010. A group of fiber artists were discussing how they were getting master certification in weaving and yarn spinning. I was in awe that such certifications even existed, as I had never heard about it before. Then I get my first newsletter from CGOA and was thrilled to learn that they offered just such a program.

Getting started

I purchased it the day it was released, and waited patiently for it to arrive in the mail. As soon as I open the envelope I was enthralled and captivated by the 29 page document. Picking up a skein of yarn I began working each swatch as it was listed.

I will admit I was a bit apprehensive. There were times I came across stitches I had never worked. There were patterns that had no description or picture of what it should look like. However, I continued on. In honesty, I was so excited that I completed the entire 48 swatches and 13 questions in a matter of days. Not wanting to appear too eager, or speedy in my work I waited a week or so before contacting the CGOA office to set up a review. Unbeknownst to me, the course was so popular, that by the time I had requested a review it already had a four week backlog.

Over the next four weeks waiting to be assigned a reviewer, I anxiously looked over my work, practiced a few of the new stitches, and tried to stay calm. There was no point in second guessing myself.

The wait

Then the time came to send of my portfolio. I was a complete mixture of feelings. Essentially taking a test from a professor I had never met, and they were going to tell me if I could actually crochet. I am self-taught, and even though I had been crocheting for 25 years at this point I had never had someone scrutinize my work. What if they told me I was joke? What if I was only making mistakes? Then I remembered those fiber artists, and how in their discussions they had talked about how much they learned about themselves and their work through the review process for their certifications. How it improved their weaving, their spinning.

After finally passing the review process, I realized I did learn a lot about myself, and improved my crochet. The program forced me to consider things, stitches and techniques that I had just taken for granted. By understanding more about my stitching I have improved my work.

Moving Forward

The rest of my adventure grew from this. Now that I had actually completed this recognition program I had friends and family ask me to teach them to crochet. It is a bit mind boggling that people that have known me as a crocheter only now think I can actually successfully crochet because I received a certificate, but it is what it is.

Then being invited by CGOA to be recognized as a Master at a graduate ceremony at their next annual conference took me into the world of design and further professional growth. I also made lifelong friends whose diverse backgrounds create a unique tapestry in my life, it is always amazing how crochet can unite. I found another family one that understands and embraces me in an entirely different way than I had ever experienced before.

S2S- In Crochet, that is Sheep to Shawl

It is always interesting to see how different events can present themselves from contact made years earlier. This last week I was approached to help on a Sheep to Shawl team.

What is a Sheep to Shawl?

A Sheep to Shawl is an age old competition that I have seen several times at many Fiber Festivals. Each competition has slightly different rules, but only slightly. Essentially it is a team of people (usually seven) that work in a set time limit. In this time limit they prep a sheep fleece, teasing the wool and carding it. They then spin it into “singles”, then ply these “singles” together to create yarn. The yarn is then woven on a loom to create a shawl of set dimensions by the competition.

I dusted off my spinning wheel…

This is usually entirely completed in 4 hours.

A Virtual event…

With the current situation of the world most Fiber Festivals have been canceled or re-imagined. The Lambtown Festival in Dixon, California has re-imagined this competition in a virtual setting.

Teams are allowed a total of 28 hours to complete this process, but need to provide all these hours on a Zoom presentation. The 28 hours essentially creates this shawl in the same time setting as in-person, as the hours are counted from every participant.

This means that everyone is working quickly, in their own home setting,. Then figuring out how to get need supplies to the next participants to complete the steps. It is an interesting undertaking.

Where I am Invited

So in this new setting a couple of ambitious woman decided to challenge the notion of this being a woven shawl, and see if one can be crocheted instead.  I honestly am not aware of any competition that has ever worked up a crochet shawl, and we are hoping to set a new level of encouragement and interest in crochet.

This is where I was brought in. I learned to spin yarn several years ago, but I haven’t put it to practice much in the last 9 years. So, I dusted off my wheel last weekend and spun up some singles.

Join Us….

My team started out as the Stygn Gold, but with some settling in it has now become “Stitch In Time” (Sponsored by The Sacramento Crochet Guild, a Chapter of the Crochet Guild of America) will be working over the next few weekends to complete our project, and you are welcome to join us. Visit the Lambtown site for our scheduled competition times.

Wish us luck. It will be interesting to see if we can essentially create the yarn and crochet a shawl in a combined effort….

Crochet Connections in Pot Holders- Free Pattern

There are times when crochet shares a perspective that I was not aware existed. I was invited to join an on-line conference call of crochet enthusiasts recently, and as I was sitting back and listening to the discussions, I was struck by a topic I had never considered. The heritage of a pattern, and how it connects us to others.

This particular topic was around a pattern for a pot holder.

Some Stories of Connection

I listened to a story of how a learned family pattern has continued through generations. How even after the legacy of the pattern has passed the skill is picked up by another and still being created and shared throughout the family.  Connecting multiple generations and family tree branches, as so many had memories of this one pot holder pattern that was created by the family matriarch.

I heard another regarding a very similar pot holder pattern and how it was the captivating project that encouraged them to further their own crochet skills so as to create the pattern themselves.

Still more was the eagerness of others to learn this pattern to make the same connections with family and each other.

My Take Aways

I was in awe of how one simple pattern was connecting all of these people, and how they shared that it was a connection throughout those that they love.

Everyone may not crochet, but the legacy of a simple crochet pattern has connected these families. That to me is mesmerizing, as I have no connection to those in my family that crocheted before me. I may have some hooks that belonged to my great-grandmother, but I never met her, I have never seen any of her handiwork. There are no family patterns in my family that holds these vivid memories for me, but it a wonderful to know that these exist of others, and I feel honored to have heard their stories.

If you want to create attempt this legacy potholder, below is a similar pattern to those that were engaging the memories of others. I have used this pattern for several years to help new crocheters practice their skills.

Free Pattern

Diagonal Corners Pot Holder

Diagonal Corners Pot Holder

Materials List

  • Size J/10/6.0mm hook
  • Approximately 90yd of medium weight yarn, sample used: Lily Sugar’n Cream medium weight 100% USA Grown Cotton yarn (2oz/56.7g/95yrd/86m), 1 skein color# 102002 Mod Ombre
  • Removable Stitch Marker
  • Tapestry Needle

Details

Finished measurements: 7”x 6.5”

Gauge: is not critical for this project

Getting Started

Rnd1: Ch 30, 3sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next 27 ch, 3 sc in last ch, working in back loops of beg ch, sc in next 27 ch.

Rnd 2: Without joining, work sc in next 2 sts, insert stitch marker in last st created, sc in each st around to marker.

Rnds 3-18: Sc in each st around.

Finishing

Leaving a long tail, cut yarn and pull through loop on hook. (Finished off.) Fold the edges of round 18 together to allow pot holder to lay flat. Thread tapestry needle through long tail and weave through both sides of Round 18, sewing seam together. Weave ends in.