Baby Gifts

After finishing the Kichshaw Stroller Blanket pattern test, I continued to make additional baby gifts for my friend’s daughter, who is pregnant with her first child.

I had actually already completed a Spin Me Around blanket, before doing the stroller blanket. This pattern is free by Catherine Bligh. This is such a simple pattern that is very easy to pick up and just do mindlessly. For this blanket I used one ball of Lion Brand Mandala Baby in Diagon Alley colorway. I thought about extending it or putting a soft border on it, but I had to start the stroller blanket test and called it done.

Spin Me Around Blanket

After completing the stroller blanket I decided to make a teddy bear. I went back to my Edward’s Menagerie book by Kelly Lord and picked the Penelope the Bear pattern. I used up some stash yarn I had bought to make a teddy bear (Go Handmade Teddy and Go Handmade Couture), but it was a little difficult to crochet with so I added a base yarn (Lion Brand Comfy Cotton Blend) to make it easier to work with the fuzzy yarn. One other trick, I turned the crochet inside out for the bear, because it was fuzzier on the inside of the pieces. I just thought it made it look more like a teddy bear all soft and fuzzy.

This was the first time I used safety eyes and nose with one of the Edward’s Menagerie animals, but I wanted to make the face a little cuter, and I’m not great at make amigurumi faces. I also bought a pet collar bowtie, because I thought he needed a bowtie as well.

Penelope the Bear

Next I made a teddy bear hat and diaper cover, using the same yarn as the teddy bear. The Teddy Bear hat is a free pattern by Kristen McKay and the diaper cover was a free pattern by Jessica Cooper (although you could also pay for a pdf version of the pattern). I added a teddy bear tail to the diaper cover as well, using the same tail and Penelope the Bear. For the hat and diaper cover, I did not turn the crochet inside out, because I wanted the softest part against the babies skin, so you can see the base yarn more in these items.

At this point I really need to stop, because I could continue with these forever. I love making stuff for babies. I just hope the hat and diaper cover are big enough, especially the hat, it looks so small.

Kickshaw Stroller Blanket by Charles Voth

Kickshaw Stroller Blanket

I have been a member of the Life Long Crochet Facebook group for many years now. The group is run by Charles Voth and Rebecca Mattison, both designers. Last month there was a call for testers, to test Charles’ latest design, the Kickshaw Stroller Blanket.

I used Touch of Alpaca by Lion Brand Yarn. The yarn was soft, but gave a bit of a rough look to the stitches and the yarn split easily, which was a pain in the butt. It was almost like working with homespun yarn, which is also soft but a pain to crochet with.

I have been thinking about trying pattern testing for a while now. My biggest fear is just the time needed to test and the commitment. I’m slow at crochet and I’m usually pretty busy. The post for testing came in mid-May and the de date was June 15, but I figured that I can typically get a baby blanket done in two weeks, so I decided to try my first pattern testing experience.

The pattern has these loops, that look a bit like broomstick lace. It involves creating a lot of loose loops, so I used one of my circular knitting needles to hold the loops (the Tunisian hook was too short to hold them).

Partly I feel bad about testing the pattern, because there was nothing to correct, no issues with the pattern, everything was well documented and explained well. The only piece that gave me any confusion was the concept of creating all the loose loops, but after watching a video that Charles posted, I was able to visualize it and it was done exactly as described.

For a while there I was running behind schedule. The yarn took a week to arrive and I had family visiting Memorial Day weekend, so I didn’t really get started until the end of May. At a certain point I had to create a calendar, assigning sections per day so I could stay on schedule. But I did finish the blanket on time and was able to give my notes on time, so overall this was an easy and quick first pattern testing experience. And now I have a gift for my friend’s daughter, who is expecting her first baby.

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.