Everly The Elephant

When I visited with my niece this summer, I asked her what her favorite animal was, and she said elephant. So I went and searched for a cute elephant pattern and found Everly the Elephant by Hannah Gerecke (HHDesigns4). Hannah also has a Facebook group that I follow and lost of really cute patterns in her Etsy store. I learned that if I don’t review something in Etsy, eventually the ability to review it goes away. Normally I like to make my crochet pattern before reviewing it, but I didn’t make it in time. Oops!

This was a simple, easy to follow pattern. The only thing that confused me was the optional mouth. I did make the mouth, but didn’t attach it. I realized later how it would be attached, but decided she didn’t need it. The only thing I would have liked is more pictures for the assembly including the tail, or at least a photo of the tail. But outside of those two wish list items, this pattern is awesome. I can’t wait to gift it to my niece.

I didn’t take too many photos while making; it just went so fast. I added her little flower headband to match the pattern picture for her. I sewed mine on, lightly tacked between the flowers. The yarn I used was Yarn Bee Yarn ID in Iron and Soft Shell.

Sunseeker Pullover

Back in the spring I saw this Sunseeker Pullover by Sara Dudek on WeCrochet. For the yarn, I used my Manos Del Uruguay Fino, that I’ve had in my stash for years. I worked on this sweater most of the spring and into the summer. I finished it during this years Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival. I love this pattern. It was so easy. I love the sleeves and I added my own little flair to them. (Ignore the fact that I’ve gained weight.) I don’t really have anything else to say about this sweater. Just love it, and I’m wearing it right now!

Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival 2022

It’s been two weeks since the 2022 Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival wrapped up. It’s starting to be a bit exhausting going to all three days, but still lots of fun.

I started the festival on Thursday with volunteering again. I kind of enjoy it, I get to meet people and spend time at the festival without spending too much money. lol It also gave me time to complete the Sunseeker Pullover I was working on, so I could wear it on Friday. And I got some time on the floor to shop, and spend money. Thursday I wore Charles Voth’s Serengeti Tank and got a lot of compliments on it.

Mom came into town this year to attend on Friday and Saturday and we took four classes together. We started out with Tunisian Crochet for Absolute Beginners taught by Toni Lipsey! This was my third attempt at learning Tunisian crochet. I started off ok, I can do the simple stitch easy, then we switched to a honeycomb stitch. That’s when it all fell apart. I wanted to cry, I fell behind. I thought, this is the last time I’ll try Tunisian crochet. But I will keep trying. I bought Toni’s book and got it autographed. I also ordered a new set of hooks, so I want to try again on my own, with her book.

Friday afternoon we took Big & Bold Cables with Bonnie Barker. I was able to keep up in the cables class much better. I’ve done cables before, but getting those cables that go underneath are always challenging. Bonnie was funny, she took a break every hour to sing a funny crochet song on the guitar.

Saturday we started our day again with Toni Lipsey for Color Theory for Crocheters. I wore my Summertime Tee for Toni. Other students also wore some of her works as well. I still struggle with color theory, but she really helped to break down some of the ways to come up with a pallet for our projects. I’ve learned that I’m drawn to pinks and purples, with some blues. I like comforting colors, that make me feel calm and serene. It was a really great class, not just about colors and how to pick them, but how they make us feel and how we can try to expand and challenge our color choices.

We finished up the festival with a final class, Crochet Corner to Corner Graphgan for Beginners with Elaine Belfer Raucher. I’ve never done Corner to Corner (C2C) or graphgans before, but I wanted to try, especially to learn about color changes and bobbins. First we got a crash course on how to C2C, which was relatively easy to pick up. We also learned how to create the patterns on stitchfiddle. We’re making a little bunny and I plan to post about it once I finish it.

I always enjoy this festival every year and learn so much. I just want it to keep going and I hope we continue to get great teachers and creators.

Coming next, a post on the Sunseeker Pullover that I finished last week, once I get some good pictures of it. I’ll also post my C2C little sampler blanket. And right now I’m working on my Halloween decorations for the year, Stranger Things Season 4.

When Cat Introductions Go Right

We know that sometimes cat introductions go bad, and they can stay bad, nothing seems to work out, and then you give up. But then sometimes they can go right. And sometimes they can even fix those bad introductions.

George

I’ve told the story of Georgie and how nothing worked out in the end. Tuna was sick and we just couldn’t get things to smooth out in the house. Well, Tuna passed away last December and soon after her passing we adopted 3 kittens. What are we crazy? Why would we adopt 3 kittens with all the cat turmoil in the house?

Well, to tell the truth, things were pretty settled in the house with Georgie. He had his side of the house and he seemed to be pretty happy and he loved us. Plus my husband and I always talked about getting 2 kittens when our cats passed because we figured we were older and this would be the last opportunity to adopt kittens. Notice I said we wanted to adopt 2 kittens? Well of course we came home with 3. We named them Jaina, Jacen, and Mara Jade (Star Wars names).

Jaina
Jacen
Mara Jade

We were going to adopt 2 little girls, but their brother was with them when we went to pick them up. He was a cutie pie, and the rescue said, want to adopt him too? No fee. Well this wasn’t really a rescue, more of a pet clinic/charity and sometimes they help cats find homes. They didn’t have anyone to adopt the little boy and they asked us if we wanted to adopt him also. Well if you ask me if I want a kitten, chances are I will say yes. My husband is the same way, and so we came home with three kittens.

Kittens are a lot of work, and three at the same time? It’s a bit insane. It was hard to keep the three of them separate in a room for a week. Finally they broke out and met Pumpkin and Nathan. Well, Jacen is what I call a big ball of love. He is fearless, and curious, and wants to meet everyone. It can be a bit scary as a cat mom to have him so innocent and naïve like that, but it worked out. Nathan was ok with him and so was Pumpkin. Soon after the girls introduced themselves and they all were really good with each other. So success!

Once the kittens were a little bit older, they were determined to jump the gate to Georgie’s side. Mostly Jacen, but Jaina tried too. We’d close the doors and rubberband the doors closed. Then they’d get stuck between the gate and the door. My husband and I were beside ourselves, we didn’t know what to do. I was so afraid that George might be aggressive with the kittens. We decided to introduce Jacen to George first. Jacen pranced in like he owned the room, like always, and instantly was getting a bath from George. They were fine. Mara Jade and George are ok, they’re not friends and not enemies. Jaina hisses at George all the time, or most of the time now. But they also did well overall. George was now integrated with the kittens, and the kittens would jump the gate whenever they wanted, so they owned the house.

After some time, George would break free at the gate and go run to eat the other cat’s food. He would run into Nathan at times and they were fine together! But he still had a bug up his butt about Pumpkin and would try to attack him. Pumpkin was old and dying of cancer at the time. So we were very protective of him. We thought, well if nothing else, once Pumpkin passes things will be ok.

Slowly over time we got to the point were we would let Georgie stay out in the Livingroom with us but he’d still sleep on our side of the house. He was getting better with Pumpkin over time and Pumpkin also started to stick up for himself as well. Then we got to the point where we’d leave the gate open at night. We kept Georgie behind the gate when we went out or when we travelled because we didn’t fully trust that things were good. But once we got back from vacation in July, the gate has pretty much been open the whole time. There was one recent scuffle with Nathan, George started to get worked up and a little too playful/aggressive (he was stalking Nathan), so we gave him a time out on the other side.

As for George’s peeing on the bed? It was practically over for about 6 months, but when we went away for a week in June, I came home to a puddle in the bed. So the tarps went back on the bed. He was really upset about us going away. The tarps stayed and he still had some accidents until we got back from vacation in July and since we’ve been home the peeing on the bed has stopped again.

Believe it or not, we are all one big happy family again. Unfortunately, we had to put Pumpkin to sleep this week. He was the last of our original six cats. Now we have 5 cats, all younger, so thankfully we won’t have to deal with loss for a long time now.

So this was the story of Georgie, and how this sweet, sensitive cat had a hard time integrating into a home with many cats, until one day, when this little kitten named Jacen, a big ball of love, came along and made friends with him. Now all the cats are living together peacefully and they lived happily ever after.

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!