have you heard of this obscure craft?

It’s called medieval fingerloop braiding (I never know if I’m spelling ‘medieval’ right, so forgive me if I mess it up), and maybe I’m making a huge assumption saying that it’s obscure but I had never even heard of this craft until I recently stumbled upon this video by one of my favorite CosTubers, Morgan Donner (that’s ‘costume YouTubers,’ in case you’re not familiar with this genre of creative content makers). You literally put these long loops of string on your fingers and weave them together into a braid (watch the video — it’s hard to explain)!

I decided to give it a try, and this orange one was my first one:

It’s a simple five loop square braid (as are all the ones I’ve made so far), and it’s not perfect but for my first try I think it’s pretty good in terms of tension consistency, at least. My second try took a bit less time since I was getting the hang of the movements, and it produced a similar length of cord:

There are actually all kinds of braids and they can get super fancy and complicated, but to me this square braid seems really practical and it’s rhythmic construction is kind of nice, like knitting a length of garter stitch or crocheting a chevron blanket. The third length I made is actually going to be part of my swamp witch costume for the Renaissance Faire that I mentioned in my last post, and as you see here I’ve put a creepy crow’s claw pendant on it:

After these three successes, however, I foolishly thought I’d try three new challenges at once: using ‘caterpillars’ (lengths of crocheted chain stitches that dangle from your loops that allow you to make super long braids), holding the strings differently as I worked, and doing a technique that starts the braid with a loopie thing instead of just tying off a normal knot. I did this for a specific purpose: I wanted to make my own lacing cord for the 18th century inspired stays that I somehow managed to miraculously make (I may do a separate post on those because to be honest I’m really proud of myself for sewing those):

You can see how the braid seamlessly joins to form the loop, but oh my gosh did I ever struggle with this! And not only was this super frustrating (taking many time consuming tries before I got it right), but I also accidentally dropped loops multiple times during the making of the cord and had to figure out how on earth to get them back on my fingers in the proper configuration (if the loops twist it causes different things to happen in the appearance of the braid). I also had to figure out how to un-braid to redo some rough sections, and when I finally finished the cord I don’t even know how many frustrated hours I’d spent on it. I almost gave up a few times, to be honest, since I could just buy some regular cord and save myself the trouble, but in the effort to make as much of my costume as possible I persevered, and at the end I used some regular thread to make my own little secure aglet (which was pleasantly easy and quick):

Overall I’d recommend trying this craft out if you’ve got some embroidery thread or lace weight yarn laying around, just don’t do what I did and bite off more than you can chew at once. It’ll be fun if you take it step by step! 😄

Or perhaps you’ve already tried medieval fingerloop braiding? I’m curious to hear how many other people have tried it or even heard of it, so I’d love to hear from you in the comments! I’d also like to know what you think of this type of post, since it’s not really knitting or crochet related.

So yeah, that’s it for today! Thanks so much for stopping by, and have a great day! 😁

The Swamp Witch

Hello, hello! I’m back with a new project to share with you guys today: a shawl that I will be wearing for my Renaissance Faire costume this year! I’m going as a swamp witch, and since it’s in October and November I figured a nice wool shawl wouldn’t go amiss. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

It’s a knitted triangular shawl following the Lace Mess Shawl pattern (which is really more of a tutorial than a pattern, but it’s free!), and it starts from the top down and more lace (simple yo, k2togs) is added the farther down you go. It should look kinda messy and something like a swamp witch would wear if I do it right! In fact, I’ve made one before years ago in a different yarn (sorry for the terrible photo quality):

This time I’m using KnitPicks Muse Handpainted, an aran weight 100% superwash merino (on sale at time of posting), in colorway “Success.” It’s a decently soft and nicely squishy yarn with tones of grayish green, which is exactly what I wanted for the swamp witch costume.

I haven’t gotten far with the lace yet, but you can see a little here to either side of the “spine.” Also, note my skull stitch markers, which I thought were perfectly fitting for such a project. 😄 I’d link to them for you but I can’t remember where I got them and I’ve had them for years now, so my apologies for that.

The shawl is working up very quickly on size 10 needles (6.00mm), and I’m already on the second skein of the 4 I bought. I’m spit-splicing the ends together (since it’s not something I’m giving to someone else) so that I don’t have to worry about knots. If you haven’t run across spit-splicing before I recommend you look it up — it’s a great way to join wool yarns seamlessly (and it’s delightfully weird). 😁

For the costume I also plan on using a crocheted shawl I made years ago from the Recuerdos de Infancia pattern, a versatile shawl pattern that’s proven worth the $6 for me since I’ve actually made 4 of them. Here’s the one I’m going to use, possibly as a waist wrap (sorry again for the terrible photo quality):

There are many other components of the costume I need to put together, as well, so I’ll update with those and definitely with finished photos of the current Lace Mess Shawl.

Do you ever make crocheted or knitted items for costumes? If so, do you try to make it something you can wear again on its own later, or do you just make it for the one event?

I hope you are all staying safe and healthy. Please take care of yourselves, and thanks for stopping by!

making stuff up

Hey everyone! Today I’m sharing a WIP that I just started today and am kind of making up as I go. It’s supposed to be a philodendron or pothos vine:

I’m making it to go in an indoor hanging pot, because apparently I can’t keep real plants alive to save my own life and yet I still really want something “natural” in my home. This is my solution, and I’m hoping if I make quite a few of these vines and stick them all in the pot it’ll look semi-realistic (other than the color, I suppose, but it was as close to green as I had, so that’s what I’m using).

You can see I’m crocheting around some random craft wire (which I bought about a bazillion years ago to stiffen the brim of a crocheted sun hat). The yarn is sock weight, and I’m using a size C (2.75mm) hook.

To make the leaves I’m just taking my single length of wire and making a loop, then twisting the loop to form the part of the stem (?) that attaches to the vine. I crochet over that, then work into the remaining large loop at the end of the twist to form the leaf. I pinch the leaf loop closed and slip stitch back to the main wire and continue. This way I don’t have to break the yarn and sew in ends for every leaf — it’s a continuous piece!

I’m still working out the best leaf shapes, but they’re all slightly different, just like a real plant would be (I’m trying hard for realism despite the colorway lol).

If this works out I’ll do another post showing the finished piece, but no guarantees about how soon that’ll be. I’m in the middle of re-watching “One Piece” during my free time and it’s over 1,000 episodes (and counting), and I can’t do much crocheting while reading subtitles (I’m too stubborn to watch the dubbed version — the voices are just not the same). Still, I do want to get this done and hung up in my home, so I’ll do my best.

As far as a life update goes, nothing much has really changed lately. I’m still at the same job (despite my many complaints about it), I’m still very happily divorced (and not looking), and I still live in the same place with my doggo. I still do kung fu, I’m still super into BTS and K-pop, and I still do other crafts.

I have sort of picked up a new craft, though: sewing! I’ve been hesitant to share things here since this isn’t a sewing blog and I don’t want to put people off, but my hands have been very busy. Since December I’ve made 2 different shifts/chemises, a tank top, a slip/underskirt/petticoat thing, two (and a half) different skirts, and I’ve done lace inserts to re-size some shirts that were too small. I’ve been using a combination of hand-sewing and machine sewing, but the machine I’m using is a 1929 treadle Singer (which I love way more than electric machines, btw, because I can go slow when I need to and I just feel like I have more control even if my options for stitches are just limited to the straight stitch). YouTubers with channels about sewing and/or historical dress have been fascinating and inspiring me; if you’re interested, check out Bernadette Banner, Rachel Maksy, Abby Cox, and Morgan Donner, just to name a few!

So yeah, that’s pretty much all for this post! I hope you’re having a good day, and thanks for stopping by!

new pattern published: Amigurumi Potpourri! (and the importance of tech editing)

Howdy everyone! I’ve got exciting news — I’ve just published a new pattern for something I’ve been working on for a very long time (seriously, like, YEARS): Amigurumi Potpourri!

It’s is a unique set of instructions to make the components of a classic potpourri: cinnamon sticks, pinecones, dried cranberries, dried lemon slices, dried orange slices, and bay leaves. It could replace actual decorative potpourri (which can be toxic to pets), or if you like the smell of potpourri you can even add a few drops of essential oils to the wool to make it classically aromatic!

Using the recommended KnitPicks Palette yarn (fingering weight, 100% Peruvian Highland Wool, 50g/ball) and a US 2/C 2.75 mm hook, pieces will range from around 1.5 cm wide to around 9 cm long, and if you follow the recommended amounts of the components in the pattern you will have enough potpourri to fill a decorative bowl. You can see the exact colorways and amounts, as well as other materials needed, on the Ravelry pattern page.

This is the first pattern I’ve ever sold myself, so in celebration I’m giving my lovely blog readers a discount on the pattern, which is normally priced at $4.99. Ya’ll get a $1 discount through the end of November, 2021! Enter code NYAC1121 at checkout on Ravelry. Buy here!

I also need to mention something in regards to publishing patterns: YOU NEED TO HAVE IT TECH EDITED. I seriously almost skipped this step because I thought my pattern was okay, and thank goodness I didn’t skip it because my pattern was sooooo NOT OKAY. It is now, though, thanks to my amazing tech editor Marjan of Hobbydingen! She was super fast but still so thorough — she caught so many little problems and inconsistencies and bits of messy wording and math mistakes and was overall very helpful and patient with me (going through 4 versions of the pattern before it was ready to go), which I greatly appreciate! It’s definitely worth it to get your stuff tech edited, for realsies, so I’d recommend Hobbydingen if you ever need tech editing services!

a bazillion wips

Howdy, hookers! How have things been going with ya’ll? Surviving 2021 alright?

Things here haven’t changed much, to be honest. I’ve just got about twenty works-in-progress and figured I’d share just a few of them here!

First we’ve got this simple triangle granny shawl that I started just to use up this yarn that I bought years ago for a specific pattern that never panned out. It feels like it’s slow going.

Another item made with yarn I’ve had for years — this scarf, which will probably be way too short unless I buy more yarn or just join something completely different. The yarn itself is nice; it’s a merino/silk blend from Purl Soho.

This is my first attempt at something truly freeform and I must say I’m pleasantly surprised at what I’ve got so far. Trouble is I’m not sure what to do next. ideally it’ll be a shoulder wrap, but I’ve got a long way to go.

And finally, here’s a new piece that I started against my better judgment (I really should finish other projects before starting a new one). Made from sock yarn dyed in various BTS themed colorways by Hawari Bazaar, this will theoretically be a large wrap/throw blanket for my office, or maybe for home. Just basic stripes of sc.

Sorry I don’t have more interesting things to talk about. Ya’ll don’t wanna hear me complain about work, though, I promise, and I’m sure I’ve talked about K-pop enough on this crochet blog to last a few years already. I just wanted to share something with ya’ll so you know I’m still here and crafting. I’ve posted a couple times on my Instagram lately, actually, so find me there if you wanna see more stuff.

Please stay safe and healthy, and thanks so much for reading! See you at some unforseen date in the future!

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