Altar Lace


These are very much in progress…

They were designed using Sand Castle Designs software (I couldn’t have done it without it!), which gives a “preview” of the finished pieces. That’s what I’m showing for the largest piece.

The design was inspired by this.

The two smaller pieces are meant to hang from niches holding figures of the Blessed Virgin & St. Joseph, respectively. They are 18″ by 5″, crocheted with size 50 thread & a size 11 hook, using triple crochet, chain 3 filet (instead of the usual double crochet, chain 2, so each square is 4 stitches instead of the usual 3), which makes the design stand out more.

These first two were crocheted starting from the short side, left to right.



The large piece is meant to drape from the front of the altar. It’s 54″x 10″, with the same size thread & hook & filet type as the other two. For a chart large enough to use, double click on the image & then click the magnifying glass. The second chart makes it easier to count the filled blocks. I’m using both for my own work.

I hope you’re inspired to pick up your crochet hook & join me in beautifying the house of God!

Gifts of Love: Crocheted Angels


In the process of donating baby items to ministries that serve mothers in crisis pregnancies,
my prince and I came across a related ministry, “Gifts of Love”,
that provides burial gowns and pouches, miniature caskets and memory boxes
to families who have lost babies to miscarriage or stillbirth.

As I was talking with the lady who coordinates the ministry,
I noticed that each casket had a crocheted cross on the inside of the lid.
I could make those! (and I did for a while)
But they also needed little mementos to go in the memory boxes,
and over time, I developed a pattern for tiny crocheted angels.
Since “Gifts of Love” already had someone making crosses, I focused on the angels.


This little angel is trimmed in blue, for a baby boy.
I’ve also trimmed them in pink for girls,
or in gold, for those whose gender is unknown.


The holy card in the memory box, with Jesus holding a baby
& a guardian angel kneeling before Him,
is from Holy Card Heaven.
It could be taken to be Jesus handing the baby to the angel,
or the angel giving the baby to Jesus.
The inscription reads:

I entrust him to you;
keep him safe for all eternity.

Pattern for Crocheted Angels

Please alert me to any mistakes in the pattern!
I’ve caught several already, but I’m too close to the project to be entirely objective
(I go on kinesthetic automatic pilot).

I use size 30 crochet cotton and a size 11 steel crochet hook.
The first ch 3 always counts as the 1st dc
Make sure to count your stitches in rounds 1-7–it’s easy to add or subtract one!

R 1: Starting with a magic circle, ch 3, 15 dc in loop. Sl st in top of beginning ch 3, pull magic loop tight. (16 dc)
If you prefer not to start with a magic circle, ch 4, 15 dc in first ch, sl st to top of original ch 4.
My apologies for the fuzzy photo
R 2-4: ch 3, dc in each dc around. Sl st to top of beginning ch 3. (16 dc)
Stuff head. I use rolled up scraps of fabric, but any white stuffing should be fine.
Neck (continued from head):
R 5: ch 1, sc in same stitch as joining, *skip 1 dc, sc in next dc. Repeat from * around. sl st in 1st sc. (8 sc) This gets hard to see, especially with such fine thread. Just make sure you have 8 sc by the time you’re done with the round!

R 6: ch 1, sc in same stitch as joining, sc in each sc around (8 sc)
Bodice (continued from neck):
R 7: ch 3, dc in same space as joining, 2 dc in each sc around (16 dc)
R 8: ch 4, trc in each dc around (16 trc)
Skirt (continued from bodice):
R 9: ch 4, dc in same stitch as joining. *Skip one trc, (dc, ch 1) 3x in next stitch. Repeat from * around, ending with dc, ch 1 in same stitch as original ch 4, sl st in 3rd stitch of original ch 4 (this puts you in position to start the next round without having to sl st to the center of the shell). (8 shells, each 3 dc with ch 1 in between and ch 1 between shells)
R 10: ch 5, dc in same stitch as joining, ch 1. *In center dc of next shell (ie., skip ch 1, dc, ch 1, dc, ch 1), dc, ch 2, dc, ch 2, dc, ch 1. Repeat from * around, ending with dc, ch 1 in same stitch as original ch 5, sl st in 3rd st of original ch 5 (8 shells, each 3 dc with ch 2 in between, ch 1 between shells)
R 11: Ch 5, dc, ch 2 dc. *In center dc of next shell (ie., skip ch 2, dc, ch 1, dc, ch 2), (dc, ch 2) 3x, dc. Repeat from * around, ending with dc, ch 2, dc, ch 2, in the same stitch as the original ch 5, sl st in 3rd st of original ch 5. (8 shells, each with 4 dc with ch 2 in between, no ch between shells)
R 12: sl st into next loop. Ch 5, dc, (ch 2, dc) 3x. *In center loop of next shell (ie., skip dc, ch 2, 2dc, ch 2, dc), (dc, ch 2) 4x, dc. Repeat around, ending with sl st in 3rd st of original ch 5. Fasten off and weave in ends.
Trim: With trim color, right side facing, fasten on in 2nd loop of shell (I pull a loop of the new thread through the loop on the skirt & ch 1 to fasten). Ch 1, sc in same loop, ch 3, sc in next loop, *ch 3, (sl st in next loop)2x, (ch 3, sc in next loop) 2x Repeat from * around, ending with sl st in next loop twice, ch 3, sl st in first sc. (ch 3, sc in main part of shell, sl st when transitioning from one shell to the next). Fasten off & weave in ends.

Arms & hands:
R 1: Ch 12, 2 dc in 4th ch from hook, 3 dc in next ch, ch 3, sl st in same ch as last dc. This cluster of dc will form the hands.
Remove hook from loop and insert it into the same stitch in which you made the 2dc (the far end of the clump of dc you just made).
Catch the loop you dropped
CatchLoopand pull it through to “fold” the hands.
Ch 8, sl st to first ch to form a circle.
R 2: ch 3, dc in each ch until you get to the base of the hands. 3 dc in same ch, ch 3, sl st in same ch.
Folding the hands away from you, sl st in base of hands on the far side,
ch 3, 3 dc in same place.
dc in each dc around.
The dc following your 3dc next to the hands will be hard to find & hard to get into,
since the previous stitch was packed so tight with stitches–but if you miss it,
there will be a gap in the sleeve. Be persistent :).

Join to top of original ch 3. Fasten off, leaving a tail of about 5″ for sewing the angel together.
Work the arms down over the top of the angel’s head, hands pointing up (it’ll be a tight fit).

R 1: ch 7, sl st in first ch to form ring
R 2: ch 6, trc in ring. Ch 2 trc in ring 5 times (7 trc). DO NOT JOIN!
R 3: Turn. ch 5, dc in 1st trc, ch 2, dc in same trc, *ch 1, dc, (ch 2, dc, ch 2, dc) in next trc. Repeat from * around (7 shells, each with 3 dc, ch 2 between dc, ch 1 between shells)
R 4: Turn. ch 4, *(dc, ch 2)3x in next dc, ch 2, dc in same dc, *in center dc of next shell, (dc, ch 2) 3x, ch 2, dc in same dc, Repeat from * around, ending with ch 4, sl st in next ch (7 shells, each with 4 dc, ch 2 between dc, no ch between shells, with an extra loop on the shell on each end. Fasten off and weave in ends.
Trim: With trim color, right side facing, attach thread to 3rd ch of first ch 4 of last round. (ch 3, sl st in next dc) 3x, ch 3, pull up a loop in next dc, pull up a loop in next dc, pull last loop through the other two loops on the hook (2 sl st together). *(ch 3, sl st in next dc) 2x, ch 3, pull up a loop in next dc, pull up a loop in next dc, pull last loop through the other two loops on the hook. Repeat from * around, ending with (ch 3, sl in next dc) 3x, ch 4, sl st in next ch. (ch 3, sl in main part of the shell, 2 sl st together when transitioning from one shell to another). Fasten off & weave in ends.
With trim color, ch 20, sl st in 1st ch to form a ring, sl st in each chail around. Fasten off, but leave ends.
Thread the long thread from the arms into a needle.
Attach arms to bodice by taking the needle into the bodice just under the arms, coning out just over the arms, going into the top of the arms & into the body/head.
Bring needle up through the back of the top of head between the first 2 rounds of the head
and attach halo with two small stitches (one to the right & the other to the left). Insert crochet hook up through inside of body and head to catch the “tails” of the halo and pull them into the head (hide them without adding bulk to the halo).
Bring needle into head at halo and out at the back of the head. Thread wings onto needle through the center circle (the right side of wings facing the body of the angel) and fasten with a few stitches into the bodice and skirt along the center back. Bring needle up through the body & head, over a tiny bit & back down through the body/head (to secure the thread). Cut thread.
Gently tug various parts of the angel into the shape you like.


Other stitch patterns also work well in the skirt and wings,
if you’re motivated to play around with them :).

Since I’ve started making these angels, it’s remarkable how many people I’ve come across
who have lost a baby or know someone who has.
Suddenly they started coming out of the woodwork!
It’s been such a blessing to be able honor their suffering,
and to give them an angel (or promise to make one) in memory of their little one.

Dancing Skirt With Button-Pocket Waistband Closure

I’ve had the fabric for years, a lovely light blue (denim, I think) that had sun-fading streaks when I bought it (the price reflected that), necessitating some creative laying-out of pattern pieces.

The pattern (vintage Misses Simplicity 5819, Size 10, local second-hand) has been in my stash for a while. A couple of weeks ago I dreamed of putting them together, but it wasn’t until Mom visited that we finally got the ball rolling (she loves to sew–I don’t!).  Thanks, Mom :).

Further thanks go to my prince for being my stabilizing force in the stresses of sewing & gathering heavy fabric with breaking thread (yikes!) and for his photography :).

I lengthened the skirt by using the pattern piece for View 1, which has tucks, straightening the edges & not sewing the tucks. If I make this pattern again, I may narrow the top of the main skirt pieces for a final upper circumference of 40″ instead of 60″ (!) –there’s too much gather at the waistband for my taste (especially for such a heavy fabric).

I added crocheted lace trim (which I’d made for a different skirt, but ended up not using) at the base of the ruffle:

I used my new favorite waistband (copied from a ready-made skirt Mom resewed for me), and the skirt pocket from the old McCalls 5378 (a different pocket would work as long as it’s at least 3″ wide at the top). This eliminates the need for a zipper (a problem for me, since zippers are practically all polyester, which makes me itch) by putting the skirt closure at the pockets (which my skirts must have!). It also makes the skirt very size-adaptable, if I happen to gain or lose a few pounds. I just use the next button out (and I can move the buttons if I need to).

The waistband is made of two rectangles of fabric: 13″x4¼” (front) & 24″x4¼” (back). Actually, the back is bigger than I need–I’ll cut it down to 22″x4¼” next time.

To figure out your own size, the front piece should be one inch less than half your waist + 1/2″ seam allowance (or 1 1/2″ seam allowance, if you’re using a 5/8″ seam–I use 1/4″ for this). This puts the buttons slightly to the front for easy buttoning. For the back, add 9″ to the length of the front.

Iron a 1/4″ hem on all sides of each waistband piece, fold the rectangle in half the long way (the fold is the top of the waistband) & set aside.

Finish the top 7″ of the slanted side of each pocket piece (where they’d normally be sewn together) and sew the vertical sides to the upper side seams of the main skirt pieces (right sides together). Sew pocket pieces to each other, leaving the top 7″ (the edge you just finished) unsewn (this is your skirt opening).


Fold the front pockets back along the top of the skirt piece, gather the top of the skirt (not the pockets!) to match the front waistband piece, sandwich the top of the skirt & the pockets in the bottom of the folded front waistband & sew together from the outside of the skirt.

For the back, open the pockets out & gather the main body of the skirt (not the pockets!) so that the entire length fits the back waistband. Again, sandwich the pockets & top part of the skirt in the waistband & sew from the outside of the skirt. Sew two buttonholes lengthwise at each edge of the front waistband, spaced about an inch apart. Try on skirt and mark where to sew corresponding buttons on the back waistband.

More pictures…




Fruity Booties

Friends just had twins!

Strawberry Booties

The photo really doesn’t do these justice–they’re so cute!

I used this pattern for the booties, with these modifications:
For my thick red yarn, I did a starting ch of 23 (using the original sew-together pattern) & never did switch to dc (stuck to hdc throughout). The first short row (14 hdc) was red, then I did 2 hdc rows in green & the last row was ch 4, sc in 3rd ch from hook, ch1, skip a stitch & sc in next (repeat for 7 points). I left a long tail for sewing. With yellow yarn, I made random stitches all over the red part for the “seeds.” This would be cute with a little flower and/or leaves for a girl, but this pair was for a boy.

Raspberry Booties
(or grape, if made in purple!)
These would look better in a more cherry-colored yarn, but this was the best I had…

Again, I used this pattern but used the popcorn stitch. Again, start with ch 23. Make a popcorn stitch of 4hdc (the video shows a dc popcorn–same idea, but I pulled through all 3 loops at the end of each st instead of two at a time), ch 1, skip a ch, 4 hdc popcorn in next ch, etc. to the end of the row. Turn & do a reverse popcorn in the ch1 spaces on the way back so they all pop out on the same side. Keep the number of popcorn stitches the same on each of the long rows (the ends will zigzag a little–it works out in the sewing). The first short row (7 hdc popcorns) was red, then I did 2 hdc rows in green & the last row was ch 4, sc in 3rd ch from hook, ch1, skip a stitch & sc in next (repeat for 7 points). I left a long tail for sewing. If I were to do it again, I’d probably switch to green on the first short row.

Roses On My Toeses!

Now that it’s warm enough for sandals, the bows just don’t work.
Roses to the rescue!

(Yes, that’s a cat getting in on the action–he loves shoes!)

I used the rose pattern from the Irish Filigree Necklace,
found in Annie’s Favorite Thread Projects.
It’s quick & easy–the whole project (including figuring out the leaf pattern!)
only took a couple of hours.

For the leaves I started with ch 15, sc in 2nd chain from hook, sc in next ch.
1 dc into each of the next 2 ch
1 trc into each of the next 2 ch
1 dc into each of the next 2 ch
1 sc into each of the next 2 ch

Proceeding up the other side of the chain
(working into the free loop of each ch),
1 sc into each of the next 2 ch
1 dc into each of the next 2 ch
1 trc into each of the next 2 ch
1 dc into each of the next 2 ch
1 sc into each of the next 2 ch
ch 3, sl st to end ch (picot)

Sl st down the center of the leaf to form the vein
(or skip this step if you don’t care about a vein!)
& fasten off.
This leaves a bit of stem, which you don’t really need–
you could probably start with 11 chains.

Sew the leaves to the roses, sew the roses to the shoe clip findings
(I got these on ebay)
clip to shoes and you’re good to go!
(Just make sure you sew them on facing the right way–
I got it wrong the first time & they were pointing backward!)

Bows On My Toes!

Spring is sprung!
Time to decorate my white shoes!
(They desperately needed help!)

I didn’t take photos of the process, though,
so I made another pair in black.

I used this pattern for the lace, although I made the bow itself differently.

I started with a repeat of 6 shells across (a starting chain of 19)
and 5 shells long for the white–7 shells for the black.
The white thread was so old it didn’t have a size designation,
but it seems to be something thicker than size 10.
The black thread is Knit Cro-Sheen (size 10).

You could make the bows larger or smaller
by increasing or decreasing the number of shells in length & width.

Once that was done, I cut the thread & attached at the edge of the beginning chain
to do the same thing in the other direction,
making the shells in the remaining loops of the original chain,
opposite the first shells.
That way the outside edges match each other

The center is the same as the pattern, but only 5 shells long
(you could make them a little longer if you wanted the center a little looser).

I left long tails on the centers
(you could do the same with the original chain on the bows & use that),
threaded a needle with the tail & wove the thread in & out of the center of the bow
(and then back again) to gather it.

With that same thread, I whip-stitched the two ends of the center to each other,
being careful not to catch the bow itself in the sewing.

I pulled & tweaked the bow & the center into the shape I wanted,
then used the same thread to sew on the shoe clip findings
(which we found on ebay).

Here are the finished shoe clips upside down next to the plain shoes
(you can see the shoe clip findings attached)
with some kitty interest :).

And the finished shoe clips on the shoes:


Manly Lace

When my prince learned to serve for the Latin Mass a few years ago (as a favor to the chaplain at the school where he teaches), he developed a taste for lace–manly lace– specifically, for the lace that decorates some of the more expensive surplices. And he wanted the surplice itself to be linen.

We looked. Pricey! When we happened to mention it as a gift idea to my mom, who loves to sew, she made a deal with me: if I’d crochet the lace, she’d make the surplice.

It took me about 4 months!

I developed the lace pattern to my prince’s taste, using the less-common ch-1 filet crochet (ch1 for each open square, instead of ch 2–it makes a denser lace).  It’s crocheted vertically (I started at the lower right edge of the chart & worked my way to the upper right, then back to the bottom of the chart, etc.), using size 50 crochet thread and a size 14 hook.  The horizontal line of each square is a double crochet.  The spaces are a chain-1, the filled blocks are another double crochet.

Her’s the chart for the bottom edging:

Here’s the chart for the sleeve edging:

The bottom lace is about 4 yards long. The lace for each sleeve is roughly a yard long.

Mom, in the meantime, studied surplices and developed her own pattern to finish the project.
She made a muslin mockup for my prince to try on before cutting into the actual linen.

It’s being put to good use!