Shining (ribbon) stars

Our Christmas tree has no topper. We’d love to get a high-end crystal star for it, but that’s yet in the future. Meanwhile I’ve been improvising – one year we had wide ribbon tied in bows, one year I made an origami star out of construction paper (because it was the only appropriately-colored paper I had that was large enough). This year I decided to crochet a star out of ribbon, and got the chance to this weekend. The result is shown below, blurrily, on the tree, after my loving husband arranged the lights behind it for best effect.

crochet ribbon star on tree

I thought at first that I would chain stitch ribbon around wire, bend it into shape, and connect the ends; nesting two or three of different sizes would fill out the star. That might have worked if my wire had been a bit heavier, but as it was it was too flimsy, and it was also difficult to smooth and flatten the wire without crimping and creasing the ribbon.

Then I went looking for patterns and found one by Kimura Kraft that I liked the look of. Unfortunately it didn’t work in ribbon; the inner part was somehow too large for the outside.

crochet ribbon star

Fortunately I had purchased three “kegs” of ribbon, so after two strikes I could still try for a hit, modifying that pattern. For the star shown I used a J hook (6mm), a 40ft roll of 3/16 inch wide ribbon (12.2m|~5mm), and a generous 2ft (60cm) of 28-gauge jewelry wire. I had a decent bit of ribbon left, but only about half the difference to the next available size down, 32ft (9.75m).

Here are my changes to Markus’s pattern. Unfamiliar abbreviations below (and the rest of them too) are explained on the Crochet Reference page.
Round 1: Replace the starting ring and chains with “ch-4, work into ch next to sl kn.” Make sure to put your sl kn onto the hk loosely – ribbon is inelastic.
Round 2: Ch 3 to start instead of 2; work only 1 dc where it says to work 2 (so don’t make that first dc, in particular).
Round 3: This one’s different enough that it’s simpler to give the instructions in full. Note that “in picot” means to treat the “sl st in 3rd ch from hk” parts of rnd 2 as chain rings, working into the center:
No ch this rnd. Work the following stitches around the wire as well as the rnd-2 sts, leaving a wire tail of several inches: *sc 2 around next ch-2; [sc 2, ch 1, dc, ch 1, sc 2] in picot; sc 2 around next ch-2; sk dc* around. Sl st into 1st sc of rnd to join (40 sc, 10 ch, 5 dc). FO ribbon.
Twist ends of wire together and use to attach star to tree or other hanging/display place. Shape by hand.

Wire crochet experiments

my wire collection - some of it. As promised, I crocheted with wire for the first time last night. The evening began with me teaching my Crochet Via Granny Squares class, so my first idea was a little wire granny square.

It didn’t go so well. I started with green floral wire, probably about 28 gauge, maybe 26, which was stiff with its coating. Second round was 30 gauge gold wire. Both were with a size 1 steel hook (2.75mm). My tension was all over the place – with the gold wire especially, it was impossible to get a grip on it without bending it and risking kinks. Not that I didn’t get kinks regardless. After the fact it occurred to me that finger cots on two or three fingers of my left hand might be a help, but by then I was getting ready for bed.

wire crocheted granny square

I did feel like I was starting to get the hang of it, as uneven as that second round is, but by then I was kind of over the whole granny square idea and decided to make a chained chain. I used the same hook, and red wire that was unlabeled, but probably 28-30 gauge. That went better, especially because the unevenness of my loops is not as apparent as the uneven height of the double crochet stitches.

wire crocheted bracelet wire crocheted bracelet

Speaking of kinks, as we were a while ago, I tried to reel the wire straight off the spool instead of letting it come off the end, coiled, because I read a hint somewhere that I’d get fewer kinks that way. I didn’t have much luck getting the gold wire to unreel like that, but the red wire was better behaved. I think it did result in fewer kinks, but not their complete elimination.

wire wrapped bird's nest I thought about trying beaded wire crochet, but it was getting late and I didn’t have any ideas that appealed to me much. Instead, in honor of how birds-nest-y my wire crochet is (especially the granny), I made a wrapped wire bird’s nest.

Frigid rain all day yesterday. I do like winter, but not that aspect. :-)

Wedding quilts and Crayola markers

I received an invitation to a wedding earlier this spring. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend, but the invitation enclosed a square of fabric and the request to write a piece of marital advice on it. The squares are to be sewn into a quilt for the couple.

My piece was an intense red. Since they didn’t specify anything about colors or materials, I used a black Crayola fabric marker to write an adaptation of a piece of advice I read online somewhere.

inscribed square for wedding quilt

That little bubble showed up when I heat-set the marker (despite using no steam). I hope it goes away again in later work.

This mini project made me wonder whether I’d even written about Crayola fabric markers here. A little search says I haven’t, although you can see them in action on white elastic and denim. I picked up a box of 10 at a party supply store, on impulse. I figured they would be all right, since I’ve never been really disappointed by a Crayola product. They exceeded my expectations. These things lay down a lot of color and the shades are rich. Here’s a rainbow on denim (contemporary with the other denim link) to demonstrate, at least somewhat.

Crayola fabric markers on denim