Thursday, 10 April 2014

Pattern Giveaway!

Retro Cable Knit Headband Pattern

Giveaway over @ the new Jam Made website! See you there.

Love, Jen x

Friday, 4 April 2014

Important Notice - Jam Made Moving!

Hi friends! A quick note to let you know that I've packed my craft gear and I'm moving on over to my own place. No more bunkin' with blogger.

I'll be importing my patterns, so they'll still be available to you, just a click away. You'll probably notice a lot of changes here on the blogger blog as I rearrange things. Your patience is appreciated.

It will be great if you take note of my new address and come and visit me regularly for cuppa catch up and chat, a look at my new projects and patterns; and of course I'll be inviting you to my house warming party, aka giveaway celebrations!

It's been a great year learning about blogging, making friends, designing new patterns and generally having a fun time here. Time to move on now, to a space I can call my own. I've spent a lot of time preparing, cleaning up, and throwing around some fresh paint. The new place looks amazing. I want my friends to come and check it out.

See you over there!

Love, Jen.


Friday, 14 March 2014

Project Completion!

Vintage Knitting Pattern - Lady's Cardigan in 8 Ply

I have to tell you, I'm pretty chuffed I've finally completed this one!
This vintage pattern was pulled out of my Mum's collection of late 70's early 80's patterns.

Patons for ladies 617, pure new wool 5, 8 & 12 ply pattern book.

You may remember that I started this project way back in May last year. I had to put it aside to work on orders and CAL's but I've finally found the time to get stuck in and finish it. The 4mm needles were clacking away like mad, believe me!

I used Moda Vera 100% Pure 8 Ply Australian wool, in Olive Green - color 42, to match one of my favorite vintage dresses, and I can now wear it regardless of season. Perfect.

The pattern is very pretty with set in stocking stitch sleeves and a lacy eyelet effect on the front and back. It has a button hole band that was sewn on and adorned with 5 matching buttons. The band took me a bit of effort to get right, sewing it on initially under-stretched and a little gappy around the neck. I ended up detaching and reattaching correctly, which was worth the effort for a much better finish.

Photos by Leo Wiles, 2014.

The photos vary the wool color according to light and my position, but still,  it gives you a good indication of the overall look I've achieved with this pattern. 

I'm not going to be cold wearing my vintage favorites this winter. I love the new addition to my wardrobe!

What do you think?

Love, Jen


Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Tea Light Love

Hello crochet friends!

I've been having fun playing with this tea light jar cover pattern from Fondari Blog

I used cotton yarn and a 3.5mm hook, and added a simple heart and length of chain to give it even more pretty.

It's a great, quick project for gift giving, in fact I made this one partnered with some cool cotton coasters to give to a new friend. She displays them on her dining table and they look awesome.

Of course, they'd be perfect table pieces to add a romantic ambiance to a wedding reception!

This pattern is really adaptable, you could try designing your own shell pattern, or something completely different. It wouldn't be difficult at all.

I'll be making quite a few of these!

Are you going to give it a try?

Love Jen


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Tapestry Crochet Artist Diego Juárez Viveros has some Great news for you!

Erica, the Mexican folkloric dancer
 Diego put down his crochet hook to answer a few questions about his amazing work. You may remember my earlier post 'Yarn Love that will blow you away' that featured Diego's Aztec Dancer blanket. I'm excited to tell you, he plans to share his clever techniques with us all. This means we'll all learn how to make neater, more precise tapestry crochet projects like the fantastic "Erica" pictured above. 

Diego Juárez Viveros
27 year old Diego Juárez Viveros was born in Michoacán, México and moved to the United States at the age of 4. 

 All of his life he's stood out as 'extraordinary', for many reasons. A stand out in school for excellence in academic achievement, even winning a computer in eighth grade for scoring very high on standardized tests. 

Despite growing up in a family with low economic means, Diego found ways to become successful. After graduating from high school with an outstanding academic record, he pursued a biochemistry degree at University of California, San Diego and graduated in 2008.  

Then, after decideding to pursue a career in pharmacy, was accepted to University of California, San Franciso School of Pharmacy. Last September, Diego reached a milestone, completing the Doctor of Pharmacy degree program. 

            Diego lives a passionate life.  Aside from crochet, his interests are diverse and numerous. Astronomy, photography, technology, and learning languages. Diego speaks Spanish and English very fluently, and is currently learning Nahuatl.

Wowser, one multi talented man! I'm somewhat intimidated as I ask my 7 questions, though Diego is gracious, as well as confident, and happy to share his time with me.....


1. Who/what gave you the inspiration to learn crochet and how long have you been crocheting for?

I don’t remember the exact details of the incident but about two years ago I saw my mother crocheting a piece. I asked her to show me how to crochet. She showed me how to do single crochet and, instantly, I was hooked (hehe). 

I started experimenting with crocheting that day. I wanted to know more. So I bought some books to learn the basics of crochet. I made some rather simple projects at first.  After much experimentation and exploration, a vision of what I wanted started to take hold: 

I wanted to recreate pictures with crochet. 

I set off on a quest to find out more information about switching colors but I could only find basic instructions. I started making basic pieces with two colors to experiment at first. I created charts using square graphs. The designs came out okay, but I wasn’t satisfied. One day, I came across Carol Ventura’s videos on Youtube. I realized that pictures could be reproduced with crochet. I began to experiment. 

My first major crochet piece (the Aztec Dancer) was modeled on a square graph. With this project I began to understand the intrinsic structure of single crochet and figuring out how to reduce bleeding of colors.  I realized a square graph is not an adequate model for tapestry crochet but that the stitches are better modeled by a hexagonal graph.  I spent an entire day figuring out how to overlay a hexagonal graph over a picture in Photoshop. Once I figured that out, I had a working model. I then started crocheting Erica the Mexican Folkloric Dancer. 

With this most current project, I refined my technique more and created ways to make lines crisper with single crochet.

Aztec Dancer
2. Your tapestry crochet blankets are truly amazing and unique, how long do they take to create and what is the process involved?

 I have only made two blankets so far. The first (the Aztec Dancer) took me 5 months to complete, while the second (Erica the Mexican Folkloric Dancer) took me one year to complete.  The amount of time it took me is directly related to the size each piece (and life circumstances).

The process starts with creating the graph in Photoshop. This is the most important step and requires decreasing the colors and overlaying a hexagonal graph over the picture.  
Once I print out the picture, I crochet the stitches following the pattern as depicted in the picture. I carry multiple yarns in the back of the piece. I switch colors in the middle of the row. I modify some of the single crochet stitches in order to make ensure that colors do not overlap (aka bleed into each other).  

Once the picture is complete, I like to make a creative border around the piece to make it pop out. 

3. You mentioned that the Aztec dancer blanket is a self-portrait. Would you tell us more about this piece?

I became an Aztec dancer around 2006 when I joined a group in San Diego, California.  I was moved by the energy of the dance and the fact that it strengthens my Mexican identity. Aztec dancing originates from the indigenous cultures of Mexico.  I had a friend take a photograph of me while I was wearing my dancing outfit.  That is the photograph that is reproduced in the blanket.  It is one of my most favorite photographs and that is why I decided to recreate it.

After being inspired by some of Carol Ventura’s work, I set out to recreate this picture. I created a square chart over this photograph with Photoshop and began working on it. As I was working through it, I began to perfect my technique and I began to understand the intrinsic structure of crochet. 

I experimented with switching colors within the row and experimented with  preventing the colors from bleeding into each other. I learned that a square graph was not an adequate model for tapestry crochet.  I learned that turning the work at the end of the row only distorted the piece. I learned how to crochet backwards. I learned how to work with and prevent tangling of all the yarns.  At the end of the piece, I felt I had mastered the techniques. At the end of the piece, I was in awe at how beautiful it had turned out.

4. Have you made many other crocheted items in the past?

It may surprise you, but I have only made a small number of crochet pieces.  My first project was a filet crochet project that I followed from a book. I subsequently made a simple hat and a simple scarf. I then started experimenting with switching colors. I made a small blue and white bag with an Aztec-inspired design. I then created a chart by hand and created a small flat piece.  With those, I have made a total of about 6 or 7 crochet items.

A few of Diego's beginning pieces!

5. You have developed many of your own ideas and techniques to improve the overall finish of your blankets. Are you going to teach these to others in the future?

After seeing the huge online response to my work, I do intend to teach others my technique.  After comparing my results with those of others, I realized that my techniques allow for crisper edges with single crochet. 

I plan on writing an ebook in iBooks format. This book will include pictures, text and video explaining my technique.  It will have designs inspired by my Mexican background.  It will include the patterns for the Aztec Dancer and the Mexican Folkloric dancer as well as some more of my ideas.   

I am currently undergoing a huge life transition since I have just graduated from pharmacy school. You should expect to see my book within 1-2 years.

6. Do you have any other plans for the future regarding your crochet work?

I definitely plan on creating more blankets! I am quite passionate about crochet and I have so many creative ideas right now. I plan on creating that book for people to learn my techniques. I also plan on teaching others, perhaps in person (assuming life allows me to). This is a hobby I am passionate about  and plan to continue pursuing.

7.  You seem to have a very positive attitude towards life and your work, what advice would you give to beginner crocheters out there?

Learn the basics but let your own creativity guide you. If you have a creative vision for crochet that does not currently exist, let your vision guide you. Whether there is currently someone who can create your vision or not, experiment with your own creativity. Do not let today’s current molds for crochet define you. Define crochet yourself.  


Fabulous advice from one very talented artist indeed. I'll be sure to keep you updated on Diego's progress and I'm keenly awaiting his ebooks. I bet you are, too!

......... I need a cup of tea and a lay down before I can look at my projects again!

Just keep crocheting, just keep.......

Love, Jen


Saturday, 25 January 2014

Roses and Hearts

 For You

Hello friends! Here we are almost to the end of January 2014 and this is my first post of the year.
Slack much? I must admit to suffering some serious burn out, though I am back and busy making a ton of flowers and hearts. They're for a huge project I'll share later in the year.

I still have a few of last year's projects to finish off too, namely, the Afghan Block CAL I was working on. I'm eager to get that finished! I've been sidetracked by beautiful Peter Pan collars; vintage and modern pretties that I can't wait to share with you. They'll be coming soon.

I'm sure Lucy fans will recognize the Attic 24 tiny hearts and May roses. The larger roses pictured are from a Ravelry pattern that I've used and shared before. If you haven't chanced across these patterns on your web adventures, the links are shared below for you. They all make amazing embellishments, and when I gift wrap I always chain a long cord with an added tiny heart for the perfect finishing touch.


May 2014 bring more love, happiness and crochet bliss to us all!

I'll be back soon.

Love Jen x


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Gerbera Daisy Afghan Block

Hello! It's been so long. I haven't had the chance to pick up my hook much over the past month. I'm helping hubby with some building work on our house and also trying to get our vegetable patch back to a healthy production.
I did manage to make a couple of small projects though, including this cute block by April Moreland.
You can find the free pattern here.
This is the November block for the Melinda Miller Designs Afghan Sampler challenge for 2013.
I can't wait to finish the sampler next month!
I'm off to finish lining my Jam made November CAL granny bag.  I'll be sure to show you how it turns out.
Happy crocheting, friends!
Love, Jen.

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