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Turning It Into A Wallhanging!

Good morning :)

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I managed to back my latest crochet portrait on the weekend, and thought I’d share how I did it.

I wanted to build a back with a ‘bare’ frame around the outside, which wouldn’t show but which would cause the picture to hang flat, square (in terms of 90 degree angles – it is a rectangular picture) and stretched. I also wanted it to allow for cleaning and storage. I think I’ve accomplished all of what I wanted!

Materials used : unbleached muslin (for backing) – prewash in HOT and machine dry, to preshrink the fabric – pressed
measuring tape
lengths of dowel – 1/2″ diameter is what I used for the side(s) and bottom dowels
– something a little heavier and longer than the picture for the top dowel – mine was 7/8″ approx.
sewing machine and thread
tissue paper
sewing pins (quilting pins work well since they are longer)
iron/ironing board to press backing fabric nice and flat before cutting.

Ok, now – how to do it!

I measured my picture – it is 22 x 25″ (approximately – I round up if it’s in between inches because there is room in this picture for a little stretch and I want it to be pulled tightly.

I then cut a piece of muslin, leaving 1″ seam allowances all the way around. In my case I cut 24″ x 27″. Press the seam allowance down towards the ‘back’ of the backing, all the way around. I then folded out the corners, trimmed them and folded them back in as mitred corners.

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I then (because I’m a little bit overly careful) pinned it to the portrait, just to see how it would work. This is just a ‘check’ and will be immediately unpinned to begin constructing the frame.

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You can see that the backing appears bigger than the picture. That’s the ’round up’ factor and will be fine in the end. To pin, have someone help you if possible and, while holding the two edges, ease the fit by stretching the portrait evenly as you pin — begin pinning on the corners, then the centre (of whichever edge you are working) and then between pins. This will spread the ‘extra’ out evenly to prevent distortion or lack of squareness.

Now, unpin your backing from the portrait and set the portrait aside. Cut 4 strips (for dowel holders to create our frame) from the muslin about 4″ wide (less if you’re comfortable) and about the same length as the top, bottom, and the sides. Depending on your dimensions these may or may not be the same length.

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I began with the sides. Turn under a narrow hem and use your machine to sew this down (it will be a problem in time if it’s just pressed down) on one end of each piece of muslin for the side dowels. Be sure, for each side, that when the piece is folded (with the turned down seam at the top) that the fold is toward the outside of the backing, and the raw edges are toward the inside of the backing. The bottom end of each of these will be a closed end (at the bottom edge of the side dowels – to prevent the dowel simply falling out!) You should press under a bit at the bottom (approx 1/2″) and this fold will be to the inside of the dowel sleeve and also stitched down to create the closed end of the sleeve (later).

Wow, I hope that made some sense!

Next, I place, fold and pin the sleeves at the side, ONE AT A TIME, with the dowels inside them (for a close fit) and sew them using the zipper foot on my machine. This worked great for the 1/2″ dowel but not with the larger dowel (unfortunately). I checked the amount of space needed on top (for the larger dowel to fit behind the backing) and bottom, marked these with pencil and measured to mark them identically on the other side. You can see the larger space left on top compared to the bottom in the following pictures. Near the bottom of the backing, at the bottom edges of the side sleeves, you will need to pull the dowel out at least a little (or all the way if you like) to sew across the bottom of the sleeve to create the ‘stop’.

A picture of the top of the side sleeve;
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The bottom (with the dowel removed) of the side sleeve;
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Once done the sleeve, pull out the dowel and trim the underneath piece of the raw edge to 1/2 the width of the top piece. Use the top raw edge to fold around the bottom piece and press and sew in place. Make sure, as more sleeves are added, that you don’t catch a sleeve in this seam treatment. Treat all of the sleeve raw edges like this – it is strong and neat/tidy looking.

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After completing the side sleeves, create the bottom sleeve in a similar way but WITHOUT any ‘stop’ or closed section. If you sew it with the zipper foot, snug against the dowel, you shouldn’t have any trouble with it coming out unless you want it removed to wash or store the portrait. Don’t forget to do your seam treatment to eliminate raw edges.

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Now the top dowel sleeve – This is created the same way but with a wider dowel. You may wish to prepare the sleeve (narrow hem on each end) and then pin it tightly as we did before and then use a pencil to mark that crease/seamline – pull out the dowel and then sew along the line with a basting stitch (longer machine stitch), check the fit and then secure with shorter stitching once you have it right. I did not do this and ended up going a little tight in spots and having to rip parts of my seam out and redo it.

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Cut your dowels, if you haven’t done so already – a tiny bit bigger than their sleeves (the three smaller ones) and the larger should be long enough to extend and work as a hanger with the correct hardware or hooks of some sort.

To attach the portrait to the frame, remove all dowels and set aside. Pin the portrait to the back, stretching and pinning evenly as described above. I sewed it with my machine, regular foot – using tissue paper between the portrait and the feed, to prevent it beign sucked into the machine and RUINED. (My machine and I have trust issues) I sewed it with about a 1/4 – 1/2″ seam, making sure the crochet extends a TAD bit more than the backing and going slowly to prevent catching any of the sleeves!!

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Insert your dowels – sides, bottom then finally top – and VOILA

It’s a wallhanging!

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With the added advantage of being easily taken apart for washing or storage!!

Bringing Baby Home

Good morning :)

I’ve finished my latest crochet portrait…created from a photograph from 20 years ago, of me holding my eldest daughter on the day we came home from the hospital…

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The original photo…

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A bit closer up….

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Perspective makes a huge difference with these fibre creations! Up close, they look so much like nothing but when you step back a few feet, the picture is so clear.

I’ve also finished the first pair of crocheted and felted baby boots. It’s a pattern of my own which I’m working on, off and on, here and there. They are fastened with velcro at the sides/backs of the booties.

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I attached the velcro with the same wool (fishermens), sewn on by hand. The velcro is sewn along the back of the ankle section and the edges of the front flaps. I’m unsure, at this point, if I chose correctly when I put the ‘hook’ section on the fronts and the other section on the back.

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These have been given to my husband’s friend for his new baby boy. He’s going to be my first test wearer :) On a side note, his little daughter has a pair of my felted slippers (the pattern I made late last year and am still working on) and she LOVES them…they are the only slippers she’s ever worn!! :) She calls them her ‘ballerina shoes’ and was QUITE impressed with them! I single stranded my ladies medium size and felted them down for her little feet.

I also made the grandchild to be a couple things…

Some braided balls to play with;

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I found the pattern, free on ravelry. It’s called the gevlochten bal.

And, a little improvised sweater, in sock yarn, on 3.25 mm needles;

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I have a few ends to weave in and some blocking to do before it’s completely finished.

I’m Hooked!

Another portrait to show today…and I do apologize, since it was done on the 16th, but I’ve been so busy with the NEXT project in the row!

My parents in law…a picture from 45 years ago…

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Not bad, considering that I accidentally made the pattern with seven shades of colour rather than the 8 I planned on!

I’ve found out that choosing the ‘right’ picture means choosing one with good contrast between the subject(s) and the background. Too much of a similar tone results in a lot of ‘blend’ between subject and background, like in the Luke portrait which I did first.

I’ve learned that I’m likely going about pattern making the super slow way, since I use photoshop and a good old pencil and paper to create a pattern – along with hours of work. I looked at the ‘knitpro’ site and though it looks like it makes things easier, I’m just so comfortable with my ‘hands on’ approach. I believe, for now, that I’ll stick with it since I like the results and I (at least now) can spare the time.

I’ve been wondering about the whole ‘pulling through the ends’ thing that I’ve seen people who are working on these patterns mention. I’ve always been taught to place an end where you want it BEFORE you move on which eliminates all that pulling through business.

Like this;
-you are working on the wrong side and are ready to change colours-

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-I attach the new colour with a slip knot-

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-pull the slip knot tightly down to where it meets your work and cut the original colour and tie a square knot to fasten-

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-now, pull the knot to the back and hold it, down and out of the way while you work the first stitch. The knot will be held by the first full stitch and you won’t have to pull through ends, anymore!-

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I have my own (possibly used by many others though!) way of dealing with the frog pond. I’ll take some pictures of that and talk about it in the next post! I’ve found a way to waste very little wool and very little time when mistakes happen. And, inevitably – they do! :)

Have a great day :)

So Much Fun!!

This is my latest portrait in crochet – and I love it!

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It turned out awesome :)

Here’s the original picture;

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I was nervous until the eye appeared…and then ‘voila!’, it looked like my girl. I like how it looks in the blue palette too – as always, I agonized over the colours for about three quarters of the project, lol. This was another of my own patterns and I always worry about how they’ll turn out. I think I’ve got it pretty close to perfected though and I’m getting faster and more accurate at pattern making.

Next up is a picture for my inlaws – actually, their wedding picture. I do believe they’re on to me, lol. I did try to have the picture stolen secretly from the house and put back but that’s nearly impossible. Also nearly impossible was explaining why I suddenly needed that picture!

Ok, must go – my crochet hook is calling!

A Portrait – In Crochet

Good morning :)

I’ve got something new to show today, and I’m really pleased with it!  Kind of addicted already, actually…

From this original picture (photograph)…

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To this portait in crochet!

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Isn’t it neat?! It’s a picture of Luke, the basset hound. I made it for my husband as Luke was his favorite dog and has since passed away. This is one of the rare things I’ve seen my husband excited by, craft-wise!

It took me some time to figure out and write the pattern but I’ve got it now :)

If you’d like to try this technique, check out the Crochet By Numbers web site or ravelry group, or both :)

I’ve got so many pictures already lined up that I want to do, this could keep my attention for as long as I let it!

Have a great day :)