Archives for posts with tag: present

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!

 

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’!

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!

 

 

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!

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!

As I mentioned in a previous post (here), I was very busy during and right after the visit with my Mom. My sister-in-law informed me that she had accidentally lost a cowl I had made for her a few years back and she wanted me to make her another (complete with taking me to a yarn store!). It was with a very heavy heart that I had to decline her generous offer, but I was in the process of crocheting a wrap for her daughter and wouldn’t have time to do both on my visit.

After I returned, however, was another matter. My S-I-L requested purple to go with her purple winter coat, and I recalled two purple and two blue skeins of acrylic chenille I bought from Herrschner’s a while back – I have decided to work down some of my stash, after all. So, voila, the Blueberry Hill Cowl was born! I realize that the chenille yarn I used has been long discontinued, but I believe any #4 weight yarn could be substituted.

I wanted to make the cowl thick enough so that it could work her warm in those cold Chicago winters, but I did discover that making a more solid fabric made it resistant to folding. So I kept a space between the “berries” and just hope they don’t let in too much cold air.

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The Blueberry Cowl

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Detail of the pattern

When my S-I-L received the cowl, she said it coordinated well with her coat and she was sure it would be nice and warm. Success! If you would like to get the free pattern, it is available in my store on Bonanza, here.

We love teddy bears. I don’t believe I have ever known someone who didn’t at least like teddies, and many people had one as a “best friend” as a child (me included!). Ever since the shopkeeper Morris Michtom and his wife Rose made a stuffed fabric bear in honor of America’s 26th commander-in-chief (Teddy Roosevelt) and displayed it with a sign, “Teddy’s bear,” in their store window, these bears have been a perennial favorite. So in honor of this beloved creature that has given us so much comfort, let the love begin!

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Have you ever seen such a sweet face?!!
Inspiration only at  https://jzamell.jimdo.com/teddy-s/

bear hats

What a delightful way to stay warm! Pattern for sale by Caroline Guzman at
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/teddy-bear-hat-10

fuzzy bear

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear…and the free pattern is by Irina Nikolajeva; http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/little-bear-4

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Aren’t these booties adorable? Free pattern from Helena Asmu Lim at http://www.clearlyhelena.com/teddy-bear-booties/

sleep tight blanket

What child wouldn’t go to sleep with these friends? By Christins from Sweet Potato 3 at
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sleep-tight-teddy-bear-blanket—lovey

panda bear

My childhood teddy was a panda bear! Designed by
Kristel Droog and pattern available at https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/461552466/crochet-pattern-my-little-panda-bear

Teddy granny square

What lucky mother wouldn’t want to receive this beauty for her newborn?Teddy
 Bear blanket by MingazovArt at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/teddy-bear-blanket-59

Teddy Lovie

Delightful lovey by Natalya Birina at TillySome – https://www.etsy.com/shop/TillySome?ref=l2-shopheader-name

winnie the pooh

Oh so cute Pooh Bear Diaper set by Olivia, free pattern at http://www.hopefulhoney.com/2015/11/winnie-pooh-inspired-hat-diaper-cover.html?spref=pi

teddy zombie

There’s even a Halloween Teddy – Frankie the Zombie Teddy by Krawka at
https://www.etsy.com/listing/472432946/crochet-pattern-frankie-the-zombie-teddy?ref=shop_home_active

I have to admit that there were so many teddies and teddy-related items that it was really difficult to decide what to include in this post. Trust me, this is only a fraction of what I found on Pinterest!

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