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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!

 

I have totally fallen off the track with posting as I had promised myself at New Year’s. I went to a wonderful 4th of July/family reunion party and had a great time, but within a couple days the weather went to 112 degrees and I didn’t handle it well. (Neither did several of my plants, and I am afraid I’ve lost at least two of them.) Then last Tuesday my husband went in for surgery (all is well!), but I had to get up at 3:30 am to get ready to leave with him, which really threw my routine in a tizzy. Silly me, I brought a shawl to work on while I was waiting, but I was so tired I ended up having to rip out all that I had done. Oh well, it kept me busy. I’ve since caught up on my sleep and I am back with the living now!

My husband was just recently notified that his family is going to have a new addition. The nephew and his wife had a gender reveal at the July 4th party – it’s a girl! So if course that means anything I was currently working on or planning to work on has been set aside for now. There are so many wonderful things to crochet for babies – it’s so hard to choose! However, I remembered a particular doll that I had seen a while ago that I fell in love with, but it was a paid pattern so I took a pass. But now I have the perfect excuse for buying it! So I did. It’s called “Cuddle-baby – amigurumi doll” by Lilleliis and it cost about $4.68 in US dollars (4 Euros). The pattern is well written and easy to follow; it was me who screwed up, so of course it took forever to make.

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Cuddle-Baby – Amigurumi by Lilleliis

My suggestion is to make sure you have all the same weight yarn to make this doll with. I thought I did, but it didn’t take me too long to realize I didn’t. You see, I’m still trying to keep with using my stash, so I worked with what I had. I started with the head and then went on to the body. The yarn I used for the head was at least a DK and the body was definitely sport weight. The head was huge! So I had to unravel half the head and figure out how to make it smaller, which was time consuming. Then I realized I hadn’t worked the invisible decrease correctly on the body, which left odd little indents (they didn’t show until I stuffed it). I tried to fix it with a needle and thread, but it didn’t work. So I had to redo the body. Then I realized one of the hands was bigger than the other, but I was able to fix that with needle and thread. Geez, you’d think I was a novice crocheter for as much as I messed up!

I did decide to embellish a little, so I gave the hat a crab stitch edging with a pink whipstitch in between the grey stitches, and I added a triple heart applique to the body. Even though this little doll ended up taking a lot more time that it should have, I’m still happy with the outcome. I may add the stitching around the wrists and ankles, though – it does give a more finished look. That is, of course, if I can keep myself from starting the newborn booties, baby blanket, 12M sweater…well, you get the idea!

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My version – not a bad runner up, hey?

There is one thing I found out that made me sad, though. While I was looking for the pattern on Ravelry, I found another person’s version of the same pattern for sale. It wasn’t done nearly as well, and now I can’t seem to find it. I can only hope that the original designer found it and told her to take it down. The nerve of some people! Another person was trying to crochet this doll from the picture (hadn’t bought the pattern) but was having problems figuring out the arms and legs, so she was asking for the directions on the pattern’s forum! The designer replied that what she was requesting was illegal and she was shocked that someone could do such a thing. Listen, I’ve made things from photos, too, but  I would never have the gall to go on the paid pattern’s site and ask for free directions! So sad this stuff goes on. And one word to the wise – unless a pattern is VERY simple, you’re going to spend A LOT of time figuring it out on your own. Trust me – I know! So you’d better think twice if it’s really worth saving a few bucks, IMO.

Till next time, keep on hookin’!

I have a definite sweet spot in my heart for all things amigurumi (or kawaii softies, if you prefer), and one of my absolute favorites are fairies. International – yes, INTERnational – Fairy Day has been designated for June 24th this year. (Just FYI, the tooth fairy has her own days on February 28th and August 22nd. I don’t know why she has two days, but maybe oral health needs the extra advertising!)

I took to Pinterest to find what fairies were available, and there were quite an assortment of delightful little cuties. The ones that are on my bucket list, though, are the ones from the Russian master class crochet. Of course, I would have to work my way up to that level! Perhaps I should start with some of the simpler ones….

Little Fairy

Sweet Little Fairy by Fun and Fang; free pattern can be found here

Tinker Bell

Adorable Tinker Bell by JanaGeek

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Who could resist Lucy the Fairy Mouse by LittleAquaGirl

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Chrysanna the Albino Fairy by Epic Kawaii – Make sure to check out the other fairies by this designer!

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Unique Bella Fairy by Madelenon – she’s waiting to make your wishes come true!

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Delany the Good Luck Fairy by Fox in the Snow Designs – we all could use this fairy, right?

Fairy Elf

Sublime Fairy Elf by Alyona Dudakova; inspiration only, but you can visit here and here

Fairy House

Everyone needs a home, especially fairies – and this one doubles as a teapot cozy!

I hope you have the pleasure of a fairy sighting today, and happy crocheting!

In keeping with having products in my store to sell, I have just added another (and very colorful) item for sale – the Boucle Delight Cowl. I had originally made this as a scarf, but it ended up a little short, so i decided to convert it to a cowl. I know that I should have more summery items in the shop. I promise I will, but I’m still in the throws of reorganizing my bed/craft room, so when something pops up to add, I’m just going with it. In my world the months seem to fly by, so it’ll be fall before I know it!

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The biggest problem I’ve had with this cowl is the photography. I didn’t use bright or neon yarn colors to make this, but in the photos the cowl really looks much brighter than it actually is. I tried taking a pic inside the house (thinking the sun was the culprit), but that didn’t work either. The next photo is much closer to the real colors.

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In articles about taking product pics, they tell you to use natural light (or “reveal” type light bulbs) as much as possible because this will show off the true color of the item. Obviously, direct sun doesn’t always work. Since I don’t have a room to set up for product photography or the money for a pro photographer, I just have to rely on photo editing programs to try to achieve the proper effect. Easier said than done!

 

Until next time, happy crocheting!

 

 

I went online to find Arthur a girlfriend.

At first, the best I could find was Re-Ment posable skeletons. They are numbered so you can tell which one you’re getting – #1 man I believe is the smallest at 3 1/4″ tall, #2 is supposed to be a child, #3 is a man at 3 3/4″, and #4 is a woman. A dog (1 1/2″ tall & 2 1/4″ long including tail) and a cat are also available.  (Note: the sizes listed on Amazon are wrong.) The thing that is so cool about them is that they are posable! Their jaws work too, and the humans come with an extra set of gripping hands. They said the #1 man can grip Lego swords, etc., but I haven’t tried that out yet. The company has even made playsets for these skeletons! I did buy the #1, #3, a dog, and a Lego dragon sword. As long as the sword works out, my oldest is going to get the #1 man and a sword. The problem is that the humans are way too small for Arthur (he’s about 12 inches).

 

But – wait for it – this is the exciting news! When I went back online, I actually found the same skeleton as Arthur! I can’t believe that after 20 years that he’s still in production. My oldest accused me of being deceptive – he claims that I gave him Arthur a long time ago; I say I didn’t. Now I can give him his own glow-in-the-dark friend! And what’s really funny is after all this time the reviewers’ complaint is the same I had – he falls apart too easily. Still haven’t figured out how to fix that yet.

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Arthur is so happy. I gave him a red cushioned chair to sit on, which is much better than the cardboard box. He loves his new puppy and is accepting name suggestions. He is really enjoying his two new friends, even if they’re quite a bit shorter than he is. I haven’t told him about his new girlfriend yet, because I want that to be a surprise. The only thing left is to make an “upholstered” chair, or maybe loveseat, for the new couple. Clothes, too. Must get busy on that, pronto!

As much as I love designing crochet items, I just have to give myself one long cold hard look in the mirror and be honest with myself. I love crocheting much more than I like having to write the patterns out. There, I said it. So I have decided to start using OP’s patterns and crochet! This doesn’t mean I won’t ever design anything anymore; it just means that I’ll have a “products” section in my store.

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First up on this new(er) venture is my version of the Rose Lace Cowl by Alyssa Titus of Undeniable Glitter (free pattern can be found here). This was perfect for me because of all the Caron Simply Soft yarn I have in my stash, and it did take a little over one skein for the cowl (one skein for the body of the cowl and the “little more” for the edging). What a perfect and economical present! The pattern is written well – I didn’t have any issues following it at all – and the cowl works up in no time. My only disagreement with her description is that I think this cowl could be very warm and just fine for winter, as well as spring and fall. IMO!

 

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I did run into one problem, though. My little picot points on the edging all swerved to one side, and I wanted them to point straight. Silly me thought that this would straighten itself out in the blocking, but it didn’t. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not blaming the designer. It’s very possible that the way I crocheted the points made them swerve – I don’t know. Anyway, I took some thread and sewed the top loop of the picots down on the opposite side of the swerve, and this straightened them out. It was a pain, though. So if I ever make this cowl again, I’m going to find  way to crochet those points straight or consider the swerved points part of the design!

Till next time, happy crocheting!

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, including mothers-to-be, mothers to fur-babies, and mothers in spirit! I believe most women have a nurturing aspect to their personalities, and I like to take Mother’s Day to celebrate this. I know this is a rather broad definition of this holiday, but I think the world would be a very different place without the caring of women. So I hope all of you have a wonderful day!

I won’t be able to spend Mother’s Day with my Mom, but of course we’ll talk and I sent her a card with a little contribution to her pig collection. I took the Little Crochet Bunny Pattern from Amigurumi Today.com and did a few tweaks to the pattern to create the girly-girl piglet for my mom.

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The little dress is technically removable. I tried using tiny snaps but it didn’t look right, so I just sewed the pearls to the dress. Looking at the dress now I realize I should’ve blocked it, especially the hemline. Oh, well. I’m sure my mom will excuse me. Other than that faux-pah, I was really happy with how she turned out.

Till next time, have a great day and happy crocheting!

I’ve been a little sluggish with my crocheting lately (and my posts!). I needed to take some pics too, and of course “sunny” California decided to be grey and drizzly for the past few days. However – TA DA – I have a few new things to show you. One item isn’t totally new, but I’ve finally completed it and have the pattern available now in my store, which you can find here. This is the afghan I mentioned in an earlier post, and I’ve named it Aqua Dreams. The Caron Simply Soft yarn is so pretty and the sheen is really nice. I was very angry at myself for making my traditional mistake of crocheting the beginning rows loose and tightening my tension as I go along – yes, I did it again – but I was able to work it all out with the single crochet/crab stitch border, so everything is fine now. And I am very proud of myself for using up an additional 10+ skeins of my stash!

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I was so happy with the way the Caron yarn looked that I decided to make another item with it – a long cowl with a lacy edging that you can double loop for added warmth. That’s still on the blocking mat, so you’ll get to see it in my next post.  I’ve also finished my version of the Metro Kerchief by Yuliya Tkacheva. I didn’t design these two items, so they’ll be going in my store as ‘products for sale’, a new category I’ll be adding shortly. I’ve also designed a scarf/shawlette, I’m working on a summer cowl, and I’ve finished my mom’s Mother’s Day present, but I’ll have more on those later. By George, i think I’m out of my slump!

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Till next time, happy crocheting!

 

Officially spring began March 20th this year, but I am aware many parts of this country have still been feeling wintry effects. Well, tomorrow is National Gardening Day – yes, there is actually such a day! As many of us already know, crocheters also tend to like gardening, cooking, and cats (gardening and cats for me, cooking not so much). I had become a pretty decent gardener while I was back in Illinois. This is how my Illinois garden looked like much of the time (minus the lace curtains and mansion in the background) –

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Then about eight years ago my family and I moved to southern California. VERY different climates, to be sure. I thought I would still have my green thumb, but alas, things have not turned out so well. My CA gardening ventures have gone much more like this –

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Something tells me I should just keep to the crocheted versions of floral and fauna beauty. They stay fresh for so much longer! Someday I might even attempt this spring fantasy from Lunar Heavenly

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Till then, stay warm and crochet on!

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