Klaziena Shawl

I’m not even sure when I got this pattern, but I saw it in my Ravelry library. And it’s a FREE pattern! In multiple languages.

I was looking for a shawl pattern to use one of my Scheepjes Whirl balls on. And the klaziena shawl by Kirsten Bishop looked beautiful. I’ve been wanting to make a shawl with that yarn for years now and I had been looking for a shawl pattern that would look nice with it. I also wanted to make a pretty shawl for my mom’s birthday.

The pattern was very easy to follow with charts and written instructions. The pattern also came with instructions for a triangle shawl or a rectangular shawl. However, the pattern repeated about every 14 rows, so by the time I got to a row again I didn’t remember the pattern fully, but thought I did, and would mess something up. So I ripped out just about every row at least once. I joked to my mom that I actually made her 3 shawls by the time I ripped out every row out and re-did them.

I really enjoyed this pattern and the yarn. The shawl came out beautiful. I only wish I got other pictures before I wrapped it up and sent it to mom. Unfortunately, I only have pictures from the blocking, and one of our new kittens, the size of my yarn ball.

Fair Isle Crochet

A few weeks ago I took a Fair Isle Crochet class by Melissa Leapman hosted by Fiberside Chats. What I enjoyed is that you did not need to attend the class live if you couldn’t. The recording was available for a week to watch and we received a simple pattern to print and follow along with.

This was my first time doing fair isle crochet and it was pretty fun. We made a simple mug rug with a snowflake pattern. Melissa explained everything clearly.

Well, there’s lots of room for improvement, but overall I’m happy with my first attempt and I enjoyed the little class. We also got a discount code for Melissa Leapman’s Ravelry store, so I also bought her Crochetabunga Blanket pattern (which is not a fair isle crochet pattern).

My Crochet Doll 2

A few years ago I made the My Crochet Doll Little Red Riding Hood set. I wanted to make more and even bought a bunch of Bergere de France yarns to make some of the other sets but it’s been about 6 years now and I’ve finally gone back to make another doll. This latest set is called At the North Pole.

At the North Pole

I remember thinking that my Little Red Riding Hood was the best thing I’ve ever made. I was proud of that doll. She just came out perfect, in my opinion and I was pretty impressed with my accomplishment. Perhaps I’ve forgotten over the years, but my one complaint about the book, “My Crochet Doll” by Isabelle Kessedjian is that it is not always clear what you need to do or how to assemble the pieces. The book is filled with all sorts of photos of the adorable dolls and accessories, but I wish there were some on the construction of the items.

This is the first time I used doll wires to make the doll posable. I also bought mohair yarn for the hair this time. The little box can be used to store the doll and the lid can be used as the fish pond as well. The “snow” is a fuzzy cleaning cloth from the dollar store. For the boots I bought some leather and leather cord for the boot soles. They were hot glued on.

My gauge seemed to be all wrong. I wish there were some swatch instructions so I could check my gauge. My first shirt was too small; I remade it with a bigger hook. My first boots were too big; I remade them with a smaller hook. The parka was too small, I pulled it out and redid it and it still seems a bit tight.

Original boots on the right were too big so I remade the boots (on the left)

These will be shipped off for my niece’s birthday soon. There is one more doll I want to make from this book (Bear cub), but it will likely be the last one I make. I hope that one is easier to follow.

Tilted Tunic

I joined another CAL at Life Long Crochet. This time the pattern was the Tilted Tunic by Sarah Wright (I Need It Crochet). I used Yarn Bee Chloe in Breezy Sunrise to make this sweater (which matches my current hair color).

Unlike other CALs, I actually finished, not only on time, but a few weeks early! This pattern was fun and pretty easy to complete. I did make a few mistakes along the way, though. I was gaining stitches in each row, so instead of going back I just did some course corrections along the way. Sarah was available in the group to help everyone with questions, which was nice. It’s not often that you have the designer available while you are making your project. Anyway, this sweater was for me and I just wanted to learn, so I let the mistakes go and just covered them up.

For the most part this sweater was worked in the round. It also included short rows for the ribbing, which I found to be fun. I saw in her store that she also has a pattern called Angles Tunic, which looks like it would be pretty fun as well. I think I’m going to add that one to my to do list.

I’m currently working on a new doll, but we also just adopted three kittens, so that has put my crochet temporarily on hold, while we try to settle these little ones in to our home.

Happy New Year and Happy Hooking!

Happy at Home Hoodie

Over the summer I saw an advertisement for the Happy at Home Hoodie by Rachel Misner. I actually purchased the kit from Lion Brand Yarns, which included the Coboo yarn. Side Note: one of the skeins had some discoloration throughout the skein that made the yarn and sweater looked stained. I emailed Lion Brand Yarns and they gave me a gift card to include the amount for a replacement skein and shipping. I was very happy w/ Lion Brand support. They were so easy to deal with and responsive.

Completed Happy at Home Hoodie, size Large

Side Note: one of the skeins had some discoloration throughout the skein that made the yarn and sweater looked stained. I emailed Lion Brand Yarns and they gave me a gift card to include the amount for a replacement skein and shipping. I was very happy w/ Lion Brand support. They were so easy to deal with and responsive.

Overall, this pattern was pretty easy, it’s made in four parts (front, back, arms), and then sewn together before completing the hood. The Coboo yarn is soft, and I like the look and feel of it, but it can be a pain to work with. This yarn splits easily, so I often had to slow down because I kept getting snagged on the yarn, especially during the ribbing.

Second Note: Read the instructions carefully, when I went to make my second sleeve, I made it too short because I forgot that there were five extra rows in the instructions further down the page. Also, I should have known better than to cut the yarn before I compered the sleeves, but I was rushing to finish the project because I was starting a CAL and I was hoping to finish the sweater in time for Thanksgiving weekend.

I washed the sweater and I’m hanging it to dry, because I want the stitches to pull the sweater down a bit. No, I didn’t swatch and the sweater is a tiny bit small on me, so I am trying to stretch it a little with gravity. Plus I’ve been dieting and losing weight (slowly) so the sweater should be fitting me well soon. I still love the sweater, it it very much my style, the type of sweater I would buy if I saw it at the store.

Hansel and Gretel Cotton Candy

The second Hansel and Gretel prop I made for Halloween this year were giant cotton candy inspired by this pin. It doesn’t look like that blog is available anymore, but making these is actually pretty easy, as long as you don’t mind hot glue gun burns.

Materials:

Wood dowels (to stake the cotton candy in the ground)

Plastic Poster Board (plastic to be weather proof outside)

Chinese Paper Lanterns (not the wishing lanterns, the round decorative lanterns)

Poly-fil

Hot Glue

Spray Paint

Large Gift Basket Bag (Optional)

Bow (Optional)

To start, roll the poster board into a cotton candy cone shape. There are some You tune videos out there if you need help. I tried to make sure there was a large enough hole in the cone that my wood dowel would fit into. Tape the cone down and slide the wood dowel into the cone. Then I taped the cone onto the wood dowel.

Next put together the Chinese paper lantern. I slide the dowel and cone into the lantern from the top and then hooked the lantern onto the top of the cone.

Now you will take pieces of the Poly-fil and glue them onto the lantern using the hot glue gun. If you really want to make a nice cotton candy, I think some wool roving would really look like cotton candy, but since I was making several of these, that was a bit expensive to try. It will take a lot of gluing and a lot of hot glue to make each cotton candy, I even went and bought a larger gun that uses larger sticks to make it faster to make.

Once all the Poly-fil is on the lantern, just spray paint the color you want. I did pink and blue.

To finish it off, use a large gift basket bag and bow (optional). I have bags on all of them to protect them from the weather, but they don’t all have bows, only a few came with the gift bags.

Hansel and Gretel Cupcakes

This year’s Halloween theme is Hansel and Gretel. My first prop that I made were large cupcakes, inspired by this pin. To make my cupcakes I decided they needed to be topped with cherries.

So a few years ago my friend Trish and her friend’s dressed up as banana splits, they each had different costumes and Trish made them hats topped with these amazing cherries she made. Trish is an artist and a Multimedia Designer at my company (super talented), so I asked her how she made her cherries, see one of her amazing banana split hats, below.

Banana Split Hat and cherry made by Trisha Fritz

To make the cherry start with a block of green flower arrangement foam (the soft foam) and carve it into the shape of a charry. I started with a pairing knife and then used some Styrofoam tools to smooth out. I have a set of plastic tools I picked up at a craft store years ago. Afterwards she said to coat the foam with a plaster and sand it smooth. I decided to use a joint compound, which probably wasn’t the best choice, but after several applications and sanding I finally got my cherries to look decent. The problem with the joint compound was that it kept coming off the foam leaving divots. I tried to paint over them, but it was still noticeable. Then I found some small joint compound patch, that I was able to use to fill the pocks in my cherries. I painted my cherries with red paint and finished them off with a glossy bright red spray paint. For the stems, Trish had taken a wire and wrapped with masking tape and painted it. I had found these green wrapped flower arrangement wire and decided to use that as my stem. I folded over the ends a little to make them look like the little nubbins on the ends of cherry stems.

For the cupcakes, I bought some dollar store plastic flower pots and covered them in corrugated cardboard sheets. I filled the pots with insulating foam, took about 1 1/2 to 2 cans per pot to fill it up with foam. For the sprinkles, Trish had mad her sprinkles using sculpty clay. I was trying to make my own sprinkles, when I came across these balloon sticks I had bought years ago, so I cut them into pieces, instant sprinkles!

After the foam hardened I used a glue gun to glue the cherry and sprinkles on the cupcakes. I made 6 total. I certainly made some mistakes, and they’re not all awesome. But I think they came out pretty good, overall.

Moogly’s Citrus Twist Tote

I know I often write about the Facebook crochet group I belong to, Life Long Crochet. Recently they had a Moogly CAL (crochet-a-long). I don’t tend to do too many CALs, but I like Moogly and the bag they were making was cute. But really I saw someone else’s version of the bag and I thought, Oh now I want to make one.

The Citrus Twist Tote by Tamara Kelly is super cute, fast and easy. It was fun to see everyone’s versions of the tote, and the color choices everyone made. I decided to use up a bunch of my La Mia Mini Cottony to make my tote. I joined the CAL at the end of the first week and I made my bag in about 4 days, which is super fast for me. I loved seeing everyone’s color choices so much that I decided to make a second bag with the leftover t-shirt yarn, Maker Home Dec, in my stash, both bags above.

After the CAL, the Group had a drawing for a free Ravelry pattern, and I won! Yay! So my free pattern that I picked was another pattern by Tamara Kelly called the Ripley Shawl. I have another top in the works that will likely take me forever, but afterwards I think I’ll try to do this shawl. Maybe I’ll even do this shawl first, as a Christmas gift before I finish my top. We’ll see.

George Update

We went through about 6 months trying to integrate George with our other cats. Here’s an update on Georgie. We realized that the integrations weren’t going well, so we were weaning him of the meds and were looking to possibly rehome him, if we could find the right home.

A coworker knew someone that was looking for a cat, so we were hoping he would like George, but that fell through. Once Georgie was off his meds his personality started to really come out. He’s a clown; such a silly cat. He’s still really sweet (to us). He has our hearts and we can’t let him go at this point.

So now Georgie lives in the bedroom area of the house while the other cats stay out in the living area. He’s really happy, we think. He and Nathan still batt at each other at the gate. Perhaps when Petunia passes we will try to see if he can get along with the others, but we aren’t holding our breath. Maybe someday when he’s old he’ll mellow out, we’ll see.

Occasionally he still pees on the bed. It seemed to start again, when my husband wanted us to site swap again to let him have the other part of the house for a bit. It seemed to stress him some more, switching back and smelling the other cats. He also occasionally will pee on the bed if we spend a lot of time out in the living room with the other cats. So we keep the tarp on the bed as a preventative measure. This is really the reason I wouldn’t try to rehome him, you never know if he did it somewhere else how they’d react. Lord knows it wasn’t easy for me to accept in the beginning.

So here’s to a long and happy life for Georgie. He likes to hang at my feet in the morning while I’m working, lounge out on top of the cat cocoon, and snuggle in bed with me and my husband. Such a sweet boy, our Georgie.

Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival 2021

This was the first year that the Pittsburgh Knit ad Crochet Festival has been run by Laura Regan, during a pandemic and the Delta variant surge. I’d say despite all of that the festival turned out great this year. This year the festival was Thursday – Saturday, so I took two days off of work.

Soap Sacks for S.A.C.K.

Thursday I wore my Serengeti Tank by Charles Voth. I volunteered on that day, but spent the first couple of hours on the marketplace floor checking out all the vendors and working on the scavenger hunt. I kept my spending pretty much under control the first day, but still came home with some nice things. I bought a large African basket at Frog It Yarns. I bought a cute Wonder Woman wrap kit at Treasure Goddess Yarn. I decided to risk getting an Outlander Mrs. Frit’s Armwarmer knitting kit (don’t remember which vendor that was). And as always I bought some Ashgrove Soaps.

Friday I wore my Summertime Tee by Toni Lipsey. I spent the first couple of hours on the marketplace floors again. This time I did not control my spending as well, or at all. I bought a bunch of yarn from Underhill Farm, The Yarn Smith, Unplanned Peacock Studio, 29 Bridges Studio, and Sassy Black Yarns. I bought a tunic from The Maasai International (sorry about the wrinkled picture). I decided to try some arthritis gloves from And I bought some more soap from Ashgrove Soaps.

I spent some time in the make’s space and met a nice woman from the Bethany Community Ministries. They do a lot of charity work for the community. After speaking with her and learning they make crochet blankets for the homeless I offered to bring her yarn. Then I started a soap sack for S.A.C.K. I met Stacy Wiener, the founder. She’s a very sweet person and it was fun to crochet and talk with some other’s while making the soap sack. I had to go to my volunteer shift, so I took my project to the information table and made 2 soap sacks while giving out information to people.

I took the Intro to Tunisian class. A few years ago I had taken the Next Steps in Tunisian Crochet class, but after teaching myself Tunisian in a crash course in order to take the class, it was still a bit difficult, so I thought I’d start from scratch again. I can say, that I don’t think I really like Tunisian so much. I may give up on Tunisian for now. I think I’d rather learn knitting. I did get a nice ball of yarn from Bella Cash as a class gift.

Today I wore my Shoreline Raglan Sweater. I brought in two large bags of yarn for the Bethany Community Ministries and I took the Freeform Crochet class. I had taken it at my first Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet festival several years ago. I’ve been working on a freeform project, but I wanted a refresher on several things, mostly the bullion stitch. I enjoyed the class and had fun talking with the other women in there. I also helped out some with doing spirals and bullions, so it was fun to help as well. I wonder if perhaps I’ve reached a point where I could start to teach classes. I’m not sure what I would teach though. I was thinking I could do a crochet tips class with various crochet design tips? Or maybe to teach how to join in the round? Our class gift was a knitting booklet and some sample yarn.

Overall, I think this year was successful. I hope the vendors did well. I know things still aren’t back to normal and it certainly wasn’t as crowded as it was in years past. I also wonder if perhaps I’d want to travel to other crochet festivals in the future and learn as much as I can learn.