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.

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.

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.

Shoreline Raglan Sweater

I’ve been looking for a pattern to use my Baah LaJolla from my stash and I came across the Shoreline Raglan Sweater on Ravelry. The pattern is by Tina Marie and she has a choose what you pay option $6, $7, or $8. I paid the full price, but it’s nice that the price is adjustable for those that can’t pay the full price. I have to say though, the pattern is completely worth the cost. It is 14 pages of detailed instructions with variations to add fading, optional waist shaping, short sleeve option, and optional sleeve decrease.

The pattern was pretty well documented, but I did have to create my own cheat sheet for the increases, though. They are documented on the last page, but I needed stitch counts per row for each section, so I charted them out in Excel. I made mine with the fade, but did not do any of the other options.

I’ve learned that I’m horrible at following instructions though. I didn’t follow the arm patterns close enough. I was focused on the pattern and the fade and didn’t do some of the special rows (double solids, double lace). It’s ok though, I still think it’s a beautiful sweater. I was hoping to wear it in England in September, but that trip is likely to get postponed again.