Black-Eyed Pea Good Luck Ornament

December 30, 2010, 11:05 am  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

vickiehowellBeing the California girl (well, by way of Colorado) that I am, the Southern tradition of eating black-eyed peas for luck was news to me! Since becoming an Austinite however, I’ve learned to embrace this New Years Day tradition. It’s kind of adorable how an entire portion of the country puts such hope in a tiny food–and hey, who couldn’t use a little more luck, right? As 2010 comes to an end, alas, so does my stint with Lark Crafts. So I thought, what better way to bid you adeiu, than with a token of luck to start 2011 off the right (read: crafty) way?

Even (or especially) if you don’t like eating these blessed little beans, you can still enjoy the custom by crocheting them. Stitch-up an amigurumi version to hang year-’round as a tiny reminder that luck, is what you make of it!

Crocheted Black-Eyed Pea Ornament


Scraps of Worsted-Weight Yarn in colors: Tan & Brown
Size US H (8) Crochet Hook (or size necessary to create tight enough stitches to hold stuffing)
Tapestry Needle
Handful of Stuffing (or real black eyed peas)

Finished Size
3″ (excluding loop)

sc=single crochet
sc2tog=single crochet two stitches together

Using Tan yarn and magic loop method, 6sc in center of loop. Pull tight to close loop. Join round with a sl st.

Rnd 1: Ch1, sc in base of ch, 2sc in every sc around. Join with a sl st. (12 sts)
Rnd 2: Ch1, Sc, *sc, 2sc; repeat from * around. Join with a sl st. (17 sts)

Round 3: Ch1, sc in next ch and all the way around. Join with a sl st. 17 sts.

Rounds 4-6: Repeat Round 3.

Note: You’ll be working the next few “rounds” back-and-forth, so they’ll be known as “rows”.

Rows 7-8: Ch1, sc11. Turn.

Row/Round 9: Repeat Row 8, but DO NOT TURN at the end of this one. This row will now go back to becoming a round.
From here, you’ll have little ledges with a gap in between. Continue around with a sc in each of the 5 sts in gap. Join round with a sl st in the ch1 at beginning of round. (17sts)

Rounds 10-12: Repeat Round 3.

**At this point, start stuffing your pea as you go along until finished. For added luck, stick a real black-eyed pea inside with the stuffing!

Round 13: Ch1, *sc2tog, sc; repeat around, ending with a sc. Join round with a sl st. (13 sts)

Round 14: Ch1, * *sc2tog; repeat around. Join with a sl st. (7 sts)


Hanging Loop:
Ch 18; tie off. Fold chain in half to form loop; use tapestry to push tail through to underside; knot in place.


Using tapestry needle and Brown yarn, embroider “black eye” onto pea.
Weave in ends.

Wishing you a lucky 2011!


P.S. If you’ve enjoyed my posts here at LarkCrafts.com over the past 6 months, don’t forget to check in with me at the  VIckieHowell.com blog and follow me on Twitter in the new year!


The Make-It-For-Myself Giveaway

December 28, 2010, 11:00 am  Posted by needlearts

pile of goodies to give awayJoy to the world—Christmas is over! All the Larkettes have the luxury of a week off, and I plan to drink lots of coffee every morning and indulge in making something just for me. If you’re planning to do the same, enter our Make-It-For-Myself giveaway. The six prize packages are super cool—they’re filled with a random assortment of vintage needlearts paraphernalia—crochet hooks, knitting needles, and assorted gadgets. We’re grateful to the generosity of Shirley Pope, the (almost) mother-in-law of one of our Pixiq colleagues, Becky Shipkosky, who donated this treasure trove to us. And we’re tossing a skein of yarn into each package, too!

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The Art of Handmade Calendars: 2011 Edition

December 28, 2010, 09:00 am  Posted by Lark

Although my life is now far more digitized and screen-centric than I ever thought it would be, there are some things that I still very stubbornly hold onto in their traditional format. Calendars are certainly one of those artifacts of “the old days” that I simply prefer due to the charm and tactile appeal of an actual page. These days, the art of handmade calendars is being elevated to new heights with frame-worthy artworks. As 2010 comes to a close and the excitement and clean canvas of the brand new 2011 is just around the corner, I turned to the riches of Etsy to seek out the best and most exciting calendar options to chronicle my days this coming year. I do hope you like them, too.

Etsy handmade calendars

TOP ROW L to R: A Little Hut, Avril Loreti, Handz, REDRedORANGE, Spread the Love

BOTTOM ROW L to R: Sycamore Street Press, Caitlin Keegan, Curious Doodles, Strawberry Luna, YeeHaw


When you teach a class, what are you really trying to get across? Do you have a broader underlying message?

I posed this question to our Beadweaving Master Class panel. Each week on Monday I ask a new question of these wonderful author-teacher-beaders!

Laura McCabe, author of Laura McCabe’s Embellished Beadweaving, of Old Mystic, Connecticut:

Follow your bliss.

Find inspiration in every aspect of your life.

Enjoy the time you are able to spend partaking in an art form that is more than 40,000 years old.

Rachel Nelson-Smith, author of the Fall 2011 release Rachel Nelson-Smith’s Bead Riffs, of Santa Cruz, California:

If a student can walk away with the ability to complete the project taught in the class, I’m happy. I’m very literal in a workshop.

Now, if I have time with someone in a relaxed atmosphere, say in the studio or even in the pages of my books, then maybe we can get esoteric and ruminate on the meaning of things and how we’re going to put expression into our work.

Ideally I’d be able to impart the importance of improvisation and how important it is to embrace the limitless possibilities with our beads and needle and thread.

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Free Project from Jewelry Design Challenge

December 24, 2010, 17:00 pm  Posted by Lark

Every Friday evening, I post a set of free project instructions.

Dancing with the Stars, Survivor, Pimp My Ride, The Bachelor, Project Runway. Who doesn’t love a contest? One of Lark’s editors wondered what top jewelers would do if given the challenge to make a piece using the same 9 basic items—things anyone could find easily—plus a wild card of their choice. Thirty jewelers received identical boxes containing:

  • small pieces of 18-gauge copper and sterling sheet
  • 6 inches of sterling tubing
  • 6 pearls
  • 15 copper washers
  • a yard each of sterling wire, copper wire, and leather cord
  • some mesh

So what did they send us back? In Jewelry Design Challenge, you get to see the designs the artists made, and learn the processes they went through to achieve the work. The photo at right features earrings by the oh-so-cool Rebecca Hannon. Her wild card? Countertop laminate! Click here to get free a PDF of the instructions for making these colorful dangles.

Happy holidays—hope you get lotsa good loot!


Tis the Season Free Project Wrap-Up

December 24, 2010, 08:00 am  Posted by needlearts

Tis the Season logoHo ho ho! It’s Christmas Eve. In case any of you are desperately trying to fill up the sleigh at the last minute, let the elves at the Needlearts team come to the rescue. Here’s a roundup of all the fabulous projects that we’ve posted throughout our Tis the Season celebration, many of which are perfect last-minute gifts. (BTW, be sure to visit next week when we have a fun, give-something-to-yourself sort of giveaway.)

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The Jewelry Design Challenge: Winners!

December 23, 2010, 16:00 pm  Posted by Lark Jewelry & Beading

In partnership with the jewelry-making supplies company Rio Grande, Lark Jewelry & Beading is pleased to announce the winners of the Jewelry Design Challenge contest.

In the book Jewelry Design Challenge, 30 leading artists take up the challenge to create a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry using the same nine basic materials (with the option of adding a wildcard element). In this contest, jewelers and crafters were challenged to do the same: create an original piece of jewelry using some or all of the materials in the book, also with the wildcard option. The nine materials were:

  • 18-gauge sterling sheet, 3 inches (7.6 cm) square
  • 18-gauge copper sheet, 6 inches (15.2 cm) square
  • 1.6 mm sterling tubing, 6 inches (15.2 cm) long
  • six 5 mm black and white pearls (1/2 drilled)
  • 15 copper washers, various sizes from 1/4 to 1/2 inch (.6 to 1.3 cm)
  • 20-gauge sterling wire, 36 inches (91.4 cm) long
  • medium fine silver mesh, 6 cm square
  • 1.8 mm round Greek leather cord, 36 inches (91.4 cm) long
  • 20-gauge copper wire, 36 inches (91.4 cm) long

(Want to take up the challenge yourself just for fun? A kit of the materials can still be found at http://www.riogrande.com/MemberArea/projectItems.aspx)

The members of the Lark Jewelry & Beading team, joined by Jewelry Design Challenge author Linda Kopp, performed the judging. So, without further ado and with partner Rio Grande, here are the winners of the Jewelry Design Challenge:

Grand Prize Winner

Julie Sanford's Fireflies and Moon Shadows

Our grand prize winner is Fireflies and Moon Shadows by Julie Sanford of Julie Sanford Designs in Grand Haven, Michigan. Julie utilized all nine parts of the kit and added two Lite-Brite pegs from what she calls “a favorite childhood toy.”

Julie describes her piece this way: “A whimsical yet nostalgic necklace inspired by playful childhood memories. This piece features a multi-layered moonlit landscape beckoning beyond a copper-framed screen. The pendant is suspended by stick-like tube links, fanciful fireflies, and framed screen links with integrated leather cord.”

Julie has won a $1,500 Rio Grande gift card and a library of 10 books from Lark Jewelry & Beading.

Second Prize Winner

Necklace by Karen Olsen Ramsey

Our second-prize winner is Northern California’s Karen Olsen Ramsey, who created an aquatic-themed design.

She explains how she utilized the materials: “I used the silver sheet to form and forge the flowing, looping forms above and below the fish. I used the copper sheet to form the background behind the fish and hammer-textured it. I melted the scrap together into a sheet and formed the fish using chasing and repousse to fully sculpt them into dimensional form.

“I used the tubing on the backside to form aquatic tendrils that flow through the background. I used the washers as bubble elements (and hammer-textured them) in the chain and below the pendant above the pearl, and I used the wire to make the chain links.”

Karen has won a $1,000 Rio Grande gift card and a library of five Lark Jewelry & Beading books.

Third Prize Winner

Shirlee Grund's Jellyfish Earrings

Our third-prize winner is Shirlee Grund of Lichen & Lychee Jewelry in Seattle, Washington. She named her sleek, delightful piece Jellyfish Earrings, and she has won a $500 gift card from Rio Grande and a library of five books from Lark Jewelry & Beading.

Honorable Mention

Bernadette Denoux's Suspended on the Bridge

Finally, we are pleased to award an Honorable Mention to Bernadette Denoux‘s piece, Suspended on the Bridge. Bernadette, of Miami, Florida, used the materials in a pleasing way unlike any of the other entrants to make her piece, and in recognition we’re sending her a library of five Lark Jewelry & Beading books.

We received 30 exciting and original entries in all. It was so pleasing to see the rich creativity and vibrant enthusiasm prompted by the Jewelry Design Challenge — both the book and the contest — by jewelers and crafters across the country. Lark Jewelry & Beading is also pleased to acknowledge and applaud co-sponsor Rio Grande‘s support of this challenge and, ongoingly, of the entire jewelry-making community. Thank you all.


What’s the biggest trend you’re seeing in the beading world today? And what’s exciting you most?

I posed this question to our Beadweaving Master Class panel. Some don’t watch trends, but those who do had interesting responses: see below! Each week on Monday (or, apparently, Thursday when I have too many meetings at the beginning of the week and lose all formatting from the draft of my post) I ask a new question of these wonderful author-teacher-beaders. I invite you to share what trends you’re seeing yourself in the comments section of the post!

Sherry Serafini, author of the Spring 2011 release Sherry Serafini’s Sensational Bead Embroidery, of Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania:

I’m seeing people mix beads with other mediums. It’s very cool. People are becoming unafraid to try just about anything, and that is exciting and totally inspiring.

I believe Laura McCabe’s use of eyeballs started beaders looking at things differently. I know it made me take a second look at what I was doing!

I recently taught a group of quilters to do beadwork. The fabrics with the beads was incredibly cool, and folks were lighting up with ideas.

Marcia DeCoster, author of Marcia DeCoster’s Beaded Opulence, of Lemon Grove, California:

I’m seeing a lot more texture and dimension in current beadweaving designs. This gives a piece so much more depth in terms of both the design aesthetic and the stitch complexity. It also brings a lot more color opportunity to the piece. I’m excited to continue to explore complex thread paths and component design.

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Left to right: Row 1: Ford and Forlano Row 2: Barbara Heinrich, Lisa and Scott Cylinder Row 3: Peter Schmidt, Joanna Gollberg, Munsteiner Studio Row 4: Julia Turner, Felieke van der Leest, Stefano Marchetti, Devta Dolan Row 5: Wendy McAlister, Jane Adam, Todd Reed, Barbara Heinrich, Stephen Webster, Row 6: Tom Hill, Suzanne Golden, Mary Lee Hu, emiko oye, Raissa Bumo, Ralph Bakker Row 7: Janis Kerman, Atelier Zobel, Stephen Webster, Michael Good, Katy Hackney, Susie Ganch, Mirjam Hiller Row 8: Joanna Gollberg, Jillian Moore, Rami Abboud, Amy Tavern, Anthony Tammaro, Ford and Forlano, Petra Class, Margaux Lange

2010 was an incredible year for Lark Jewelry & Beading.

Thank YOU for your enthusiasm and support!

From bronze metal clay to bugle beads, here’s a look back

at the presents under our tree in 2010.Left to right: Row 1: Ford and Forlano Row 2: Barbara Heinrich, Lisa and Scott Cylinder Row 3: Peter Schmidt, Joanna Gollberg, Munsteiner Studio Row 4: Julia Turner, Felieke van der Leest, Stefano Marchetti, Devta Dolan Row 5: Wendy McAlister, Jane Adam, Todd Reed, Barbara Heinrich, Stephen Webster, Row 6: Tom Hill, Suzanne Golden, Mary Lee Hu, emiko oye, Raissa Bumo, Ralph Bakker Row 7: Janis Kerman, Atelier Zobel, Stephen Webster, Michael Good, Katy Hackney, Susie Ganch, Mirjam Hiller Row 8: Joanna Gollberg, Jillian Moore, Rami Abboud, Amy Tavern, Anthony Tammaro, Ford and Forlano, Petra Class, Margaux Lange

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Hit the Road with a Sweet Trio

December 22, 2010, 11:07 am  Posted by needlearts

Tis the SeasonIf you’re in the same boat as many of us around here at Lark, that boat is a car. Folks around here are getting on the road for holiday travel and packing cars with presents, snacks, and crafts.

My main craft is pottery, so there’s not much I can bring with me to make in the car. But a needle and thread are perfect travel companions. So for those of you that aren’t doing the driving, and have hands that want to do some last-minute crafting, we’ve got a few short and sweet embroidery patterns from Fa La La La Felt to keep you busy while you move from state to state.

Just click here for the patterns you see below (plus one more)–and enjoy!