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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!

 

 

 

              Wishing all a bright, warm, and wonderful holiday season!

Snowflake

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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It’s always a good idea to have a special time of year to stop, look around you, and take an accounting of all your blessings. Along with my family and friends, I’d like you to know that all of you are certainly counted among mine. Let the festivities begin!

giphyTurkey Day

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!

This is a unique collection of wonderful Christmas stockings gathered by my friend at Imperial Crochet – enjoy!

Imperial Crochet

It’s early November and that means it’s time to get your crocheted Christmas projects done so you’ll have them ready in time for the Holiday season.

If you’re looking for some cute crochet Christmas Stocking patterns to make as gifts or to use as home decor, you’ve come to the right place.

All of the following crochet Christmas Stocking patterns are being brought to you from Etsy where I’m proud to be an affiliate.  They were created with love by crochet designers who keep shop there.  They may not be free but they are reasonably priced and super cute.

Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure HERE.  I did not create these patterns.  I can not vouch for their quality and I do not own the photos shown here.  I’m simply sharing them for your viewing, crocheting, and gift-giving pleasure.

10 Cute Crochet Christmas Stocking Patterns

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Yes, I know. I kind of fell off the map for awhile, but before I go visit my Mom for her 92nd birthday, I felt I should throw a post together – just to make sure you all don’t think I’ve retired to some remote island somewhere. So, this is what I’ve been up to during my posting absence.

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As you might recall, my nephew’s wife is due in December (a girl!) and this is what I will be gifting her with at the shower this Saturday. The Unicorn Lovey I designed myself and the pattern is now available in my shop. The booties pattern still eludes me – sorry. The sweater is a free pattern offered by Caron Simply Soft yarn here. Lilleliis’ doll pattern is sold here, but I did add the crocheted heart applique based on Pink Milk’s free pattern. The baby blanket is based on the pattern by Debra O’Leary Patterns, Arielle’s Square, available for purchase here. The edging is different than her pattern – row 1 – sc around; row 2 – *hdc, skip one sc, ch 1, hdc in next sc*, repeat * to * around; and the bobble edge is *sl st in next st, sl st in next st, 3 dc’s in next st*, repeat * to * around. A simple but cute border, even if I do say so myself. And you could weave a ribbon in the hdc row if you wanted. The squares were whip-stitched together.

IMG_1057I am still totally in love with Lilleliis’ Cuddly Baby Amigurumi doll. The one on the right is being given away and I’ll list the middle one for sale in my shop. The one on the left is the first one I made. He has button eyes and a button heart on his chest, so he wouldn’t be any good for a baby/toddler. I think I may just have to keep him for myself!

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I love doilies but really don’t have much of a use for them. I do like the idea of framing them or attaching them to hoops for decoration, though. This Wispweave pattern by Julia Hart really caught my eye, so of course I had to try my hand at it. She has much better lighting in her photos to show off the textural stitches, so go take a look at her post. Above is my version. I plan to try this in multi-colors – this could make a great base to a dream catcher. It is an intricate pattern and a little fiddly, but well worth it.

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In trying to keep with my resolution to use up my stash, I have delved into my collection of Loops and Threads Woolike yarn and began this cowl. It has been inspired by the very lovely and economical Botanica Cowl Kit being offered by Willow Yarns (anyone say “Christmas”?). I love the little “bobble-ish” texture my cowl is taking on, and I’m very happy with the colors. Plus, since Woolike is a fingering yarn, the weight of this cowl is perfect for the mild California winters.

Well, I hope this proves that even though I may be very behind in my blog posts, I certainly keep moving forward with my crochet projects. I hope everyone has a great Halloween, and I’ll see you in November. Till then, happy crocheting!

You know, they say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. And sometimes life just makes sure I don’t forget it.

I’ve been crocheting fairly consistently now for about 30 years and I consider myself at an intermediate level, although I’ve certainly not had much of any experience making clothing. You know, the kind that actually has to fit. So every now and then I’ll be perusing Pinterest and I’ll find a photo of an item that I fall in love with, but then I find out I’d have to pay for the pattern. Since I have a very small budget, I try to be frugal. And sometimes I’m arrogant (and silly) enough to think that I can just figure out the pattern on my own.

Such was the case of the Metro Kerchief by Yuliya Tkacheva. Even though I am a lace fan at heart, occasionally when I see a beautiful geometric pattern I fall in love. And I fell hard for this one. But since my budget is tight, I thought (after looking very carefully at the scarf) that I could figure it out on my own. HA!

First off, you have to be careful to choose a yarn that has quite a bit of body to it because a soft yarn won’t hold the design. That was my first mistake, so I had to start over with another yarn. Next, after you figure out how to do the pattern, you have to figure out the correct increases/decreases, otherwise you will end up with either a VERY long scarf, a very short scarf, or a very lopsided scarf.

I won’t bore you will all the details, but this scarf took me almost a month to finally get right (and with a lot of mathematical help from my husband, too). Looking back on this now, that’s totally insane. Of course, when I started out I had no idea it would be so difficult for me (that arrogance again!), but at least the experience has taught me a lesson. Unless an item is super-super easy, JUST BUY THE PATTERN!

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The Urban Kerchief, now available in my Bonanza Shop

I have since completed my version of this scarf, and even though it took me forever, I am very happy with how it turned out. It is currently available for sale at my Bonanza booth – only $21.99 and free shipping! (Christmas is coming faster than you know….)

You know, technology is wonderful – when it works.

If you’ve been following my wondrous blog, you’ll know that my nephew and his wife are expecting a baby girl in December. So of course I have been in the process of making crocheted items for the newcomer, and spending waaay too much time looking through patterns. So. Many. Patterns.! Thus the lack of posts. At this point I have made a Caron Simply Soft Baby Hoodie, booties – sorry, I can’t find the pattern, a Cuddly Baby Amigurumi (which I’ve decided I need to remake because I didn’t put safety eyes on it – silly me) and I have designed a Baby Unicorn Lovey. I am in love with this lovey. I was having issues with the head when I first started, which took me about 3 days to finally work out. The rest all went pretty smoothly until I got to the mane. I did curly-q’s and sewed each one one separately, which was really tedious. But the lovey is done.

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As i was creating the lovey, I was using the OpenOffice program I have on my laptop to type the directions. Of course this was just a scratch copy. So yesterday I went to put the official pattern together on my business stationary, correcting all my shortcuts and abbreviations (so people could actually understand what I had written) and arranging all the photos with their captions. Then I saved it. This took me about nine hours to do.  (Side Note – I don’t have a tester for my patterns, so when I write the final draft, I go over what I have written several times to make sure it is correct, concise, and understandable. I haven’t gotten any complaints so far, so hopefully I’m doing something right!)

For some reason, no matter what I try to save something as, my computer wants to save it to Word, which I don’t have on the computer. So I get up this morning and see that it was saved as Word, and the format is all wrong and the pics are all on top of one another. !&%$#@&^!!!! I had Word on my old laptop, but when it crashed we couldn’t transfer the program. The Microsoft Office Suite is so expensive that my IT Guru son downloaded OpenOffice for me. It’s ok but not nearly as good for my purposes as Word, and has always been rather frustrating for me to use. At this point I’m so frustrated I’m really ready to go back to Word. I see that there are some older versions that are for home/student use that could be used for my laptop and don’t cost extraordinary amounts. Well, I’ve decided that I’m going to see if my son is free this weekend and pay him a visit. HELP! Obviously, I am NO computer whiz, and no doubt some of my issues stem from the fact that I flounder around a lot. I won’t be surprised if my son finds out I screwed something up.

If you all would be kind enough to remember my computer in your prayers, I would certainly appreciate it. Now I’m going to fix myself a very large drink.

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Hoodie sweater and booties for the Newbie!

 

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