Archives for category: Christmas

For whatever reason, I’ve been dealing with a rather long period of the “blahs”. It’s not often I get this way and usually after a couple weeks I snap out of it, but this time it’s lingering. This is how I felt by Christmas, and I ended up spending most of that day in and out of sleep on the couch.

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Perhaps part of it is because SoCal has been getting a lot of rain lately (our winter), and rain always makes me want to curl up under some blankets and just watch tv or read a good book.

Anyway, I have been making a valiant effort. Since my YS took his paper Christmas tree present with him when he moved out, I began a crochet tree to replace it. I’ve written down the pattern for future reference, I’m almost done with the crocheting part, I have a pretty filigree star to go on the top, and I bought lovely gold pearls to decorate the tree with – and then I ran out of steam. So it is currently sitting on top of my entertainment unit, mocking me every chance it gets. Plus I’m still working on my Nest Stitch Shawl.

Then I decided that I should make something out of the two skeins of Mandala Sparkle that I couldn’t resist picking up. I can’t tell you any more at this point, because I’m hoping this will be a present – sorry, you’ll have to wait. But now I’ve gotten bored with this one too.

I’ve been told that two more women of the family are pregnant and due in June and July. I bought a wonderful pattern from Kate Wagstaff called the Queen of Hearts Afghan (paid pattern here), which I think would make a great wedding/baby shower present. I plan on using Caron Simply Soft in white for the base, and blue mint, blackberry (a pink), limelight (a green), and persimmon (an orange) for alternating heart colors to give to the 1st-timer due in June. The woman who’s due in July already has two girls, so I’m not sure if we’ll be having a shower for her yet, but I’ll make something for her anyway.

I know this is rather late, but I hope that all of you had a wonderful New Year’s. I won’t be doing a “resolutions” post this year. The fact is that my resolutions are still the same – keep using my yarn stash (ok, I’m trying!), post three times a month, make my quilt afghan, and create my butterfly box. I did use some of my stash last year, but I was very bad and bought more yarn. I did finish the Martha Stewart fabric balls craft AND I finally finished organizing my bedroom/craft room – Yeah, two off the list! And of course there’s always the loose 10+ pounds, eat right, exercise more, and establish world peace. Maybe I’m just dragging my heels because if I actually finish the resolutions I’d have to come up with more (although that last one may take a while…).

Till next time, happy crocheting!

 

 

 

Yes, after many years I have FINALLY completed one of my New Year’s resolutions. This has nothing to do with crochet (register astonishment here), but it was a Martha Stewart Christmas craft project from at least 2008, if not before. Yes, I am talking about none other than Fabric Balls!

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Many moons ago Martha Stewart would have a half-hour craft show in the afternoon, and I loved it! (Some people do yoga, some meditate; I watch Martha.) I saw the program showing how to do the fabric balls and I was hooked. So I went out and bought the styrofoam balls – smooth ones are best, fabric – stretchy works best, and wonderfully elaborate ribbon. Then I became distracted with life…for a long time. However, I lovingly packed up the materials and promised myself I’d get to them some day.

My husband and I don’t give presents to extended family, but I began making ornaments to give away. A couple years ago I made one of Oombawka Design’s angels (free pattern here), and last year I made crochet baubles (free pattern here). But this year I steeled my determination and tackled the fabric balls.

Of course it wasn’t nearly as easy as I thought it would be. The main issue was that the template to cut out the fabric didn’t print out to the correct size, so there was quite a bit of adjustment to do. If you read the comments you’ll find I wasn’t the only one with this problem. The second issue was what to cover the ribbon ends with. I chose to order end caps and then flattened them with a hammer – you need at least 14 to 15 mm to cover and mine were a little small; or you could follow the suggestions given on the website.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with how these turned out – I just hope the people receiving them feel the same way!

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Not too long ago I came across a post from Anabelia Craft Design offering a delightful Stars Garland (free pattern here). I tried her pattern and it came out wonderfully, but I was really  looking for a dainty snowflake pattern. After playing a bit with Anabelia’s design, I was successful!

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I made the snowflakes with an D 3.25mm hook and Bernat Handicrafter acrylic size 5 yarn. (This yarn is discontinued now but Hobby Lobby still has their version. I like it because it has a nice sheen.) Of course you could use cotton crochet thread and a smaller hook to make tinier snowflakes, or a larger crochet hook and fingering/sport weight yarn to increase the size, but if using a larger weight yarn I would suggest a cotton or cotton blend because it’ll block better. At this point I haven’t added any extra decoration, but I certainly think a few rhinestones, sequins, and/or glitter fabric paint would be nice. The blocked snowflake is 3 1/4″ in diameter.

 

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These snowflakes would make a great garland, just like the stars in Anabelia’s design. They’d make cute ornaments, of course, but I could see these as tag decorations or as a wonderful embellishment to Christmas/holiday cards. Perhaps as a necklace or pin, or hat, scarf, or hair decoration. Let your imagination fly!

Sweet Little Snowflake Pattern / Easy skill level

Bernat Handicrafter Acrylic yarn size 5, or your choice of thread/yarn

Size D 3.25mm crochet hook (or size for your yarn)

Materials for blocking plus some form of starch.

Stitches Used – Ch – chain; Sc – single crochet; Dc – double crochet; Sl St – slip stitch; 2 Dc Tog – two double crochet stitches together; Sp – space; St – stitch; Hdc – half double crochet; Trc – triple crochet; FO – finish off

Snowflake is worked in rounds with right side always facing you.

Rnd 1 – Work 12 scs in a magic circle. Sl st in 1st sc.

Rnd 2 – Ch 2, dc in same stitch (counts as 2 dc tog). Ch 3. *In next st work 2 dc tog, ch 3*. Repeat * to * around to last ch 3 – sl st in top of ch 2 at start of this round.

Rnd 3 – Sl st in ch 3 sp, ch 6 (counts as 1 dc and ch 3). Dc in same ch 3 sp. Work dc, ch 3, dc in each ch 3 sp around. Sl st into 3rd ch of ch 6 at beginning of this round.

Rnd 4 – *In the next ch 3 sp work – 1 hdc, 2 dcs, 1 trc, 3-ch picot on top of trc, 2 dc, 1 hdc. In next ch 3 sp work sc, ch 3, sc.* Repeat * to * around. Sl st in 1st hdc and FO.

After I was done, I made tiny knots with my tails on the backside of the snowflake and put a dot of glue to secure them, then cut off any excess yarn. I dampened them with water and painted a light coat of commercial fabric stiffener on the back only. I had drawn 3 1/4″ circles that had been divided into 6 equal parts on plain white paper. Using a bulletin board or blocking mat, lay the paper down and cover with plastic wrap. Pin into place to hold. Using the circles and lines as guides, pin the snowflakes to block (making sure you use rust-proof pins). Let dry and decorate!

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In my last post I mentioned that I was working on a new cowl – and Ta Da! – the Stained Glass Cowl is now done. It took a while (25 hours + dealing with ends), but I’m really happy with how it turned out.

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The cowl was made out of Loops and Threads Woolike in black, red, pumpkin spice, lavender, sage, and denim blue, with an E hook. I can’t tell you how much I love this color combination. It’s just so yummy! I also like how the stitch makes a bobble-ish type texture; I’ve always been a big fan of texture stitches. The black sc stitch rows were always worked with the front side facing you. The 7-dc shell stitch rows were alternated between the front and back sides.

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I discovered another really neat textured stitch called the Nest stitch and I worked on a wrap (see below) with that stitch on the plane rides to and from my visit with my mom (had a wonderful time, BTW!). Again, this is a heavily textured, squishy stitch and I can easily see why this would be great for a baby blanket. I’m using the Ls & Ts Woolike for this project too, and it looks like it will turn into a really nice lightweight wrap/scarf.

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Alas, I must put this aside to work on the Christmas ornaments that I give to my family. They’re not crocheted this year. Actually, I’m using a craft project from Martha Stewart that she showcased on one of her shows many, many years ago. You decorate styrofoam balls with lovely fabric, embellished ribbons, and anything else you think would look good. Of course, hers were gorgeous; I can only hope mine come out half as good!

Yes,  I know the title isn’t exactly that original, but I do want to wish all of you a wondrous new year full of all good things – health, fortune, beautiful yarn, and of course crochet! Arthur wishes you a happy new year also, but he enjoyed much merriment and is now in the process of sleeping it off – as I’m sure a certain portion of America is doing, too!

Since my mom reads my blog – Hi Mom! – I couldn’t post her Christmas present till now. When visiting last fall, I noticed that her lapghan had really seen better days and needed replacing. My mom has a TV room with olive-colored recliners and a neutral beige/brown couch, and since this room is where she usually uses the lapghan, I wanted to get colors that would coordinate. After returning, I found myself wandering in the yarn section of Walmart and I discovered Lion Brand’s Mandala there, and at a great price too! I chose “Chimera”, which is a beautiful blend of brown, teal, olive, yellow-olive, gold, orange, and fuschia. I used two skeins and mirror-imaged them. What I love the most about Mandala is that the colors are nicely hued – there, but not too bright – and it’s a DK weight, which is fast becoming my favorite. I do wish that it was a little softer, but I guess we can’t have everything. I wanted to make her lapghan out of a no-pill acrylic, but fell in love with the Mandala chimera colors – what can I say?

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The lapghan laid flat

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Close-up of the stitch

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An angled view

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People have asked me about this stitch and I will be making a video to post to YouTube on how to do this. I need to come up with a name (the ones I thought of had been taken) – I think I’ll call it the Diamond X Stitch. It’s reversible, a little stretchy, and a little squishy.  Oh, yes – Mom loved the lapghan and she especially liked that it was light-weight – go DK yarn!

To all my wonderful followers and those people who visit one of my social sites throughout the year, I thank you for all your attention to and well-wishes for my efforts. All of you are the reason I’m still plugging along!

I hope you all had a wonderful year and wish you and yours the best that this holiday season can give, and sincerely hope for all good things for you in the year to come.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR from The Crocheted Butterfly…..and Arthur –

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Bwaaahh-ha-ha-haa!! Ooh, um, er…cough, cough – I mean Ho! Ho! Ho! and Meeerrry Christmas!!

Normally I’d have a post with some wonderful photos of inspiration or links to patterns, especially for the holiday season. However, it seems that there is an overload of those types of posts, so I decided to do something a little different.

I have owned a small plastic semi-articulated skeleton for probably going on twenty years. He isn’t anything super special, but I like him. (So does my oldest son. At one point we even had an argument because my son said I had given the skeleton to him and I said I didn’t. I won.) .

Since this skeleton has been a part of my family for so long, naming him only seemed appropriate, and I feel that Arthur suits him. Arthur normally spends most of his time in a ziplock bag in the Halloween decorations box, but somehow since our move to CA (8 years ago), he managed to find his way to the back of the entertainment unit’s cabinet. And people talk about the Elf on the Shelf! I’ve also thought it’s only right that a few photographic portraits should be taken.

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Arthur is a handsome devil, and always has such a wonderful smile!

Arthur normally comes out to decorate the entertainment unit in October, enjoying the company of a clay pumpkin made by my younger son’s former high school sweetheart and an amigurumi pumpkin I made. But somehow Arthur always manages to stay out well past Thanksgiving and generally doesn’t get back in the cabinet until Christmas is over.

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Arthur with his Halloween friends

One day my younger son’s new girlfriend was over and she inquired about having a skeleton for a Christmas decoration. I explained that Arthur enjoyed the holidays, but I felt he should have some Christmas/winter accessories. So she suggested that I crochet something for him. Imagine that! So this year I’ve given him a little scarf and hat, and maybe next year he’ll get a sweater or jacket.

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Arthur sporting his Christmas duds.

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Arthur enjoying some Christmas Baubles I made – I think he’s holding his favorite!

As a matter of fact, there really isn’t any reason Arthur couldn’t stay out a little past Christmas. Wouldn’t he be adorable as a Valentine’s Day cupid? Or perhaps a new version of the Easter Bunny? By George, I may have caught on to something here, in a slightly twisted way. Oh, The Nightmare Before Christmas, what have you wrought?!!

 

 

I’ve had a cold for the past week, so I’ve been spending quite a bit of time sailing the internet – and oh! those wonderful holiday patterns. Of all the lovelies that are out there, though, I have become totally enchanted with the Christmas Bauble – and what’s not to love? You can get very inexpensive ball ornaments from the dollar store (I bought a package of a dozen for $1) plus you use your yarn scraps to crochet over them, then you have a very pretty ornament when finished. Win-win-win!

I looked up patterns for baubles (hoping to not have to reinvent the wheel), but the majority I found used larger balls and heavier weight yarn. So I had no choice but to create the Corded Bauble – and keeping with the Christmas spirit, I am sharing it with you! I know many of you don’t use size 10 or 5 crochet thread, but being a lace-lover I do have quite a bit of these in my stash so that’s what I used.

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Color variations of the Corded Bauble.

Materials – 1 7/8″ (48mm) plastic ball ornaments (I had red but gold or silver would fine)

Cotton Crochet Thread size 10 in different colors

Bernat Handicrafter Acrylic Thread size 5 in different colors

Size 1.9mm hook, but you could probably use a 2mm or a 1.8mm

Liquid Stitch or equivalent (white glue would work)

Scissors

Stitches –  sp – Space,  st – Stitch,  sl st – Slip Stitch,  ch – Chain,  dc – Double Crochet,  trc – Triple Crochet,  fptrc – Front Post Triple Crochet,  mc – Magic Circle,  v-st – V-Stitch (dc, ch 1, dc), 2-dc group – 2 dc’s worked in same stitch,  FO – finish off.

Special Notes – 1. All rounds are worked from the front (right) side. 2. All rounds are finished off to use a new color for the next round. 3. Instead of trying to weave in ends, I took the beginning and ending tails of each row and weave them so they’re next to one another, put Liquid Stitch on the base of each, tied an overhand knot and let them dry.

IMG_0678 - Copy 2A1. With a mc, ch 3 (1st dc) and work 11 dc’s in the circle. Sl St in top of ch 3, tighten circle and FO. (12 dcs).

IMG_0679AB2. Work 2 dc’s in between each dc from round 1. FO. (12 2-dc groups made)

IMG_0682A3. Work 1 V-st in the middle of each 2-dc group from round 2. FO. (12 V-sts)

IMG_0687AIMG_0684A (2)4. *Work 2-dc group in V-st from round 3; trc in front of round 3, in between the 2-dc groups from round 2*. Repeat * to * around. FO.

 

IMG_06885. Work V-st between each 2-dc group from round 4. FO.

IMG_0691 - Copy6. *Work V-st in the ch 1 sp of the V-st from round 5; working in front of round 5, fptrc around the trc from round 4*. Repeat * to * around. FO.

7. Work V-st in the ch 1 sp of V-st from round 6. FO.

8. *Work V-st in the ch 1 sp of the V-st from round 7; working in front of round 7, fptrc around the fptrc from round 6*. Repeat * to * around. FO.

9. Work V-st in the ch 1 sp of V-st from round 8. Slip ball into crochet and finish round with ball inside. You’ll work crochet rounds over ball from this point on.

10. *Work V-st in the ch 1 sp of the V-st from round 9; working in front of round 9, fptrc around the fptrc from round 8*. Repeat * to * around. FO.

11. Work 2-dc group in ch 1 sp from round 10 around. FO.

12. *Work 1 dc between the 2-dc group from round 11; working in front of round 11, fptrc around the fptrc from round 10*. Repeat * to * around. FO.

13. Work sc in every other st around, FO.IMG_0697-CopyA

Note – If you use all size 10 crochet thread, you may need to add another round before you complete the bauble with round 13. If so, work 1 front post double crochet in every fptrc from round 12.

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A couple other baubles I made. Loved the look of the Fptrc stitch, so I went crazy with it!

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The entire dozen baubles completed!

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial and it has encouraged you to create a few baubles of your own this season!

PS – I just realized that in my instructions I didn’t tell you to “chain 3” for the first dc or “chain 4” for the beginning of the first V-st in a round. Obviously this cold had more of a hold on me than I thought! I apologize if I confused anyone. I’ve been crocheting for so long that apparently I take those instructions as a given. So now I’m off to double-check my other patterns!

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Yes, once again it’s the “Hap-happiest time of the year”.  Someone should write a song about it also being the busiest time of year! Anyway, I have been having a little crochet fun on the side. One of my beginning crochet students wanted to make this bunny for her daughter, and I decided that it was so cute I would create a Santa Bunny. I know you can’t really tell it’s a bunny, but he does have a little tail on his backside. I tried giving him a nose and mouth, but somehow he just wasn’t as cute, so I decided to leave them off. You can find the original pattern in “Crochet One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects from Crocheters Around the World”, Sam the Big-Bottomed Bunny designed by Laura Biondi. (You can see a pic of Sam at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sam-the-big-bottomed-bunny.) I chose to make  a little pouch out of t-shirt material and filled it with pennies so the bunny would stand up. (Note to self – next time remember to put a couple stitches through the pouch because it tends to slide to the side, which just makes the bunny look drunk. Not good.)

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My second project was to make these little Angel Bell ornaments as presents. I ended up making twelve of them (I sure hope I made enough) and I really like how they turned out. The original design came from Rhonnda Mol, owner of Oombawka Design, found at http://oombawkadesigncrochet.com/2016/08/crochet-angel-amigurumi-pattern.html. I really suggest you check out her site because she really has some great designs. Of course, I made a few changes to Rhonnda’s design, but then again, it’s so much easier tweaking a pattern than writing one from scratch. And I had to include a little jingle bell tied under her skirt because this world definitely need as many angels with wings as it can get. IMO.

And now to tweak a quote one of my favorite poems, “Happy Holidays to all,  and to all a good night!”

 

 

 

 

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