Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Love Autumn

Because it finally starts to cool down, but (normally) doesn't get bitter. Because Nature paints the world in brilliant reds, oranges, yellows and browns. Because I also love Halloween! Yes, I just love Fall.

Over the years, my hubby has become known as the Holidayman. Together, we celebrate the year through the holidays -- right down to the house decorations. In the past we would do entire interior make-overs from one holiday to the next (which was easier when we lived in apartments). Now we limit ourselves to one or two rooms of our 100 year old farmhouse for the holiday make-overs. Our Halloween collection rivals most Christmas collections (and yes, we also have a substantial Christmas set up as well).

So naturally, my decorating spills over to my office space at work. Being a 14 year employee, my love of holiday decorating has rubbed off on many of my co-workers. Add to that my recent plunge back into crocheting, well, it isn't hard to fit one love into another.

After nearly a year of cooperative decorating, we hit a snag with Autumn. Sure, I had my desk all decked out, but we always had something on our office door, too -- something that was the whole department's.

Since my co-worker, Sue, also donates yarn to my crocheted cancer hat project, I asked her if she had any yarns in Autumn colors. I had previously found patterns for leaves and thought to revamp my Lei-Z Daisy Scarf pattern for Fall with crocheted leaves instead of the crocheted daisies. Instead, I suggested a wreath of leaves. As it turns out, Sue had a bag full of yarn remnants from an old pumpkin making project. There were oranges, red, yellow, greens and browns -- perfect! She also picked up a straw wreath -- we were on!

This is the first layout of the wreath. I attached the leaves with straight pins so that we could move and rearrange them. I used leaf patterns that I found on the Internet and in crochet books. The oak leaves are from Nicky Epstein's Crocheted Flowers. I found the acorn pattern in 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet by Lesley Stanfield. The circular designed leaf was actually a pattern for felted coasters by Lion Brand Yarns. I skipped the felting part. There are also leaves from another felting pattern by Lion Brand Yarns -- this pattern was actually for a wreath, too. At the last minute, I found a pattern for a maple leaf , which I wanted as a nod to my supervisor who is French Canadian. This pattern was created by Akua and the only change I made was that I used a contrasting color of yarn as a border. Finally, I used the basic premise of the leaf pattern designs and created my own leaf design.

This is my personal leaf pattern. I created mock veins by crocheting front loop sc and then back loop single crochet. It was a quick and easy leaf to reproduce.

Finally, to hang the wreath, I made a slip stitch cord using 3 strands of yarn. I tied the cord loosely at the top of the wreath and then tied a big bow for the final decoration. This cord is so easy! Just make a chain a little longer than you need. Then begin at the second chain from the hook and slip stitch to the end of chains. It creates a very nice cord as you can see here.

After we were satisfied with the layout of leaves on the straw wreath, I replaced the straight pins (which had white and blue glass pinheads) with T-pins, which secured the leaves to the styrofoam under the straw. The T bar top also helped me to shape the leaves to make it appear that the leaves had "fallen" naturally on the circle, with curled edges and gentle draping.

Here is the finished wreath which is now hanging from our office doorway. I'm very pleased with the way this project turned out and am proud every time I enter my office for work.