Category Archives: Crochet

Easily Distracted…

There are so many things that fascinate me, I have a hard time focusing on just one.  The Internet really doesn’t help with focus, it just brings more things I want to try.

For example, I’ve been a fan of Tech Knitter for a long time.  Her illustrations on the TECHknitting blog are amazing and incredibly helpful.  I’ve often wondered how she makes them, and finally took the time to find out that she uses Adobe Illustrator.  I don’t have Illustrator, but I went on a hunt for free vector graphics editor and I found Inkscape.  I downloaded the software on my iMac, looked at a couple tutorials, and fell down the rabbit hole.  Before I knew it I had spent the whole day creating illustrations.

The first one I did was a cartoon illustration of my latest crochet critter creations: the Whimsies.  The pattern for these little guys just popped into my head one morning, and before I knew it, I’d made 4.  One from each of the bright acrylic yarn colors I had on hand.  Here is what I came up with:

crocheted critters

The Whimsies

I’ve been trying to decide on the best way to get these guys out into the world, so for now they just sit in front of my computer and make me smile.  Since they were there, I couldn’t help but draw them to try out this new software.

Here’s my Inkscape interpretation:

The Whimsies, Illustrated

The Whimsies, Illustrated

After spending time on that, I decided to see if I could create something similar to the TECHknitter’s drawings but use it for crochet.  All of my little creatures start out making a ring of single crocheted stitches on an adjustable loop called a magic ring.  There are several webpages showing the technique with pictures, but I wondered if I could make an illustration that showed it.

It’s taken several hours, but I think I’ve got it.   I am a left handed crocheter, so I did the drawings left handed and then flipped them.  It all looks a little strange to me right handed.  I’ve decided to collect technical illustrations on a separate page on this blog, so look for the Technical Tips page at the top for the left handed version, along with this one.

created with Inkscape

created with Inkscape

Is it helpful, or just confusing?  I think I may add a couple more steps to show how to use the ring.  I learned a lot, regardless.  It was helpful for me to spend some time studying the stitches, it is fascinating how it all comes together.  I also learned a lot about Inkscape and am looking for excuses to use it.  🙂

I guess I should get back to cleaning up from my crazy cooking extravaganza, but I’m sure there will be more illustrations in the future…

New Experiences

I’ve jumped into the new year with both feet.  On my list of things to do:

  • Start an Etsy Shop
  • Eat better
  • Exercise More
  • Look for Work

With the exception of the last one, I’ve made progress on all of these things.

Etsy Shop

I’ve gotten my Etsy shop started, though my inventory is still small.  I need to learn to take better pictures and make more things to sell, but at least I’ve got a few items listed.  Check it out at stellarb.etsy.com.  So far I have a couple of cacti for sale, in case there are people out there that like Claude the Cactus, but would rather buy him than make him.  Since these cacti are made with different materials and are larger than the original, I have named the boys Clyde and the girl Cora.  Cora is sporting a flower that is as near as I can get to an actual Barrel Cactus Flower.  Here’s a picture of the love birds cacti.

I’ve also got the first in what I hope to be a series of tools for the knitter or crocheter.  I’ve been a serious fiber fanatic long enough to have made myself several custom accessories.  I hope to make the same tools for sale in coordinating fabrics on  my Etsy shop.  The first and most valuable tool I have is my vinyl pouch and stitch marker holder.  I never leave home without them.  I only have one fabric choice at the moment, but lots of other fabrics waiting to be used.  I also plan to make double pointed needle holders, and possibly a circular needle pouch, though I haven’t found a style/method I really like yet, so it could be a while.

I would appreciate any constructive feedback on the shop including pricing and shipping.  It is all new and I want to get it off to the best possible start.

Eat Better

Moving to a new place is always stressful, and I’ve never been good at creating routines, so it is no surprise that Scott and I have been eating out more than we should.  There is a restaurant here in Ames, called Hickory Park, that offers good food at reasonable prices and can feed my carnivore husband with all the meat he can handle, since I don’t have much meat in the house.

This is about to change.  With the house, we inherited a large chest freezer in the basement.  So large in fact that, though we requested they take the freezer out of the house because it was old and we knew it was going to be hard to get out, they tried the night before closing and couldn’t get it up the narrow stairway.  Long story short, we’ve had this freezer plugged in to keep the compressor running without any food for several months, and I figure we might as well use it.

Though I’d prefer to eat fresh, locally grown food, there’s not much to be found in the middle of winter in Iowa, so I’m going the freezer meal route this winter. I’ve known about the book Frozen Assets for a while now, but I finally picked it up from the library and am going to give it a try.  The basic premise is to cook enough meals for a month in one day by preparing several meals from several recipes amd freezing them.  The book has a proposed grocery list and all the recipes you would need for 30 days of dinner entrees.  I don’t plan for us to eat completely from the freezer for a month and then start all over, but I am going to use it to “open the bank account” in our freezer.  I picked up another book titled Don’t Panic, Dinner’s in the Freezer, that suggests recipes that you just triple as you are making dinner to have two more in the freezer, and I hope use that one to supplement the Frozen Assets meals.  Couple this with the fact that my grandpa gave me his old Foodsaver vacuum sealer when I saw him at Christmas, and I’m ready to go.

The original Frozen Assets book has traditional comfort foods like meatloaf, meatballs, and ham and scalloped potatos that make it more calories than a lot of people would make for themselves these days, and as I was looking up the amazon link I found she has the Frozen Assets: Lite and Easy book coming out in June, 2009.  I think I’ll look into that one when it comes out.

So anyway, yesterday I went grocery shopping with the list from the book.  Just to get a feel for the quantity of food we are talking about, I bought 3 whole chickens, 9 lbs of ground beef and 2 lbs of bulk Italian sausage.  That’s just the meat.  🙂  I’ll start the cooking today, but I don’t know if I’m actually going to do it all in one day.

Along with all that food, I also bought the ingredients to make granola from scratch.  I’ve been eating oatmeal for the last couple years, and I’ve finally gotten sick of it, so I was looking for a way to make it tastier without paying large amounts of money for cereal.

I found this recipe with a google search and decided to make it.  IT IS DELICIOUS!  Even though I forgot the sesame seeds, I did add toasted almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, toasted wheat germ, coconut, raisins, dried apricots and dried cranberries.  It was really easy to make and they even have a video to make it simpler.  I’d  recommend this to anyone!

Here’s a picture from their post, just to make you want it more.  🙂  Scott really likes it, and he’s not a fan of sweet things, so you know it’s not too sweet.

very-large-spoonful-of-granola

And finally…

Exercise

This one hasn’t gone quite as well as planned, but we do have a treadmill in the basement I use every so often.  Shovelling snow and walking downtown have been my primary activities lately, and considering how often it snows, I exercise at least 3 times a week.  🙂

Sorry for the incredibly long post, but it’s been a while and I’ve been busy.  I’ll let you know how the massive cooking and freezing experience goes.

Gifts and a Tip

I think I may be raising the bar pretty high for myself, but with the time I’ve had this year I’ve made a lot of gifts. The move will probably change things, but I’ve really enjoyed it, so maybe not.

For Father’s Day, I made small things that I mostly started after our return from SF.

My Mom’s Dad got Danny the Daffodil who was waiting for a home, and my Dad’s Dad got a coaster that I double knit and felted with the 89th Infantry Division “rolling W” symbol as the design, but I forgot to take a picture.

For my Dad, I crocheted this silly little turtle using a pattern from Roman Sock. He turned out pretty well. I used Lily Chin “Chelsea” yarn and my only mods were to add an extra row of 5 stitches before decreasing for the top of the mouth. I also crocheted the pink mouth parts and sewed them in. The instructions for the underside were a bit vague, so I crocheted my “circle” with increases of 5 stitches to match the shell symmetry. His underside is a bit more rounded as a consequence. I stuffed him a lot so that the wires in the body wouldn’t be felt.

Turtle turtle mouth

For Scott’s Grandpa, I made another lamb. I had made a lamb in a sweater just like the first one for his Grandma for Mother’s day, so I knit the reverse from fuzzymitten‘s pattern for Father’s Day. This one I put in overalls knit from some unknown yarn I got at Stitches east in a market class.

Farmer Lamb

A note about eyes

I thought I’d share how I put eyes on my various creations. It is a technique that I learned from Debbie Kesling’s book How to Make Enchanting Miniature Teddy Bears back when that was my hobby of choice.

If you are using beads, the eyes are added after the head is stuffed and attached to the body. I usually use at least 4 strands of thread to secure the eye. I run the thread from the back of the head at the base of the neck on the opposite side up through the position I want the eye, thread the bead and go back to where I started (with some fabric between the ends). I then tie a single knot at the back of the head, thread the other eye, and then pull tightly on the threads to make the eye set deeply and double knot the threads to secure the eye. After knotting a couple more times, I thread the ends back through the head and trim off. Here is a graphic that tries to show this process.

You can do something similar with safety eyes if the post has a hole in it. I partially stuff the head, thread the post with the ends of the thread coming out near the neck opening, stuff the head, sew it onto the body, then pull and knot those threads. It can be a little tricky, but usually helps with facial expressions.

A little update…

I don’t have much to show this time, since I’ve been busy making Mother’s day Gifts, but I did manage to make a replacement case for my knitting notions.  The one I purchased as a set from Clover when I first started knitting was looking pretty ragged and allowing things to fall out.

I’d been wanting to try sewing with vinyl for a while, and when I saw a remnant at Walmart for 85 cents, I decided to try.  Working with vinyl is a little tricky, since you can’t pin it and it tends to stick to your sewing machine.  But with one rework to use wider bias tape on the sides of the bag, it worked out pretty well.  The zipper is the most expensive part.  🙂

notions case

In other news, we are headed down to Baltimore to see Scott’s brother and sister-in-law and go the the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  It looks like a big event with 250 vendors and lots of sheep competitions.  It should be a lot of fun, even if it rains.  They even have a “Sheep to Shawl” contest that starts with shearing and ends up with a complete knit shawl.  I don’t know how long that takes, but they start Sunday morning, so it can’t be more than 1 day.   I think it would be a rather exhausting day, to say the least.

I’ll do my best to take pictures and post an update when we get back.

One last thing:

I got a comment from Vanessa on my Cotton Crochet Cloche pattern about adjusting the size for her daughter.  Since I was editing the pattern anyway, I’ve gone ahead and posted a 14″ head version and an 18″ head version for infant and child. They are tabs on the same spreadsheet.  Just look for the links in the upper left hand corner of the page.

It’s all about the warm fuzzies…

The fiber arts are by nature solitary activities. Only one person can hold the needles/hook/roving at a time. Even if each person knit an arm of a sweater, it is unlikely that they would be the same in gauge, etc. That being said, one of the things that drew me in and continues to amaze and inspire me is the fiber arts community.

I got started on crochet when my friend Suruchi came over to my apartment around 2000 and showed me the basics. After showing me, she found an e-bay seller that had a bunch of random crochet hooks for cheap and got them for me. We made hats and scarfs for a while, then I put it down. Work, etc. were more pressing and at the time my main hobby was making miniature bears. These are just a few examples.

Santa Bear Travis' dog Gardner bear

I did pick up the crochet hooks and yarn a few times to make a couple afghans for myself and Scott and a couple of scarves for christmas, but I also tried my hand at watercolor and took a stained glass class with Scott. In 2004 and 2005, we spent many hours working on glass projects, since northern California has perfect weather for outdoor glass work.

It wasn’t until we moved from CA to Texas and I wasn’t working, that I really started to get into crochet. It was too hot to do stained glass for very long outside ( and the mess is too much for an indoor project) and I spent a lot of time on the internet. By then finding patterns on the internet was easy, deciding what to make was the hard part. Since I had so much time that summer and fall, I started making afghans. I had gotten a book from Scott’s Grandma and tried a couple patterns from there. I made 4 afghans that fall, and though the warm fuzzies I got from giving my handmade gifts were fantastic, I was pretty exhausted with the big projects.

Lion brand afghan B & W afghan

My family obviously knew I was hooked (pun intended) and my brother and girlfriend got me a Crochet Pattern-a-day calendar for Christmas. In there was a ThreadTeds pattern for a bear. This brought me right back to making bears.

razbeary gold bear

At the same time, I found Flickr and started posting and browsing pictures. Through Flickr and blogs I learned about amigurumi and was particularly inspired by Elizabeth Doherty’s work. I started reading crochet blogs a lot, and finally started my own infrequently updated blog. I was happy with crochet and didn’t see the point in knitting, in fact some of the ladies at NASA tried to teach me to knit in 2003 for a co-worker’s baby, and I refused to learn. I crocheted a teddy bear instead. 🙂

In the fall of 2006, a confluence of events caused me to take a new look at knitting. I looked for a couple of books online and settled on the Stitch ‘n Bitch Handbook and Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Those two books got me into knitting. When I got Knitting Rules, I had never heard of the Yarn Harlot! I found her blog, read her book and never looked back.

After several years on my own, I had finally tapped into this huge community of witty, talented, inspiring people willing to share their experiences and funny stories. It was still a community tied together by links and web rings. There was no good way to find all those little blogs or people’s patterns unless someone had linked to them. Through that network, I found out about Ravelry. On July 3, two months after moving to New Jersey, I got my invitation to this amazing web community.

Using this awesome resource, I have found patterns I never knew existed, learned from others about yarn substitution and found a reason to blog more often. It is the warm fuzzy feeling I get when someone leaves a comment or “favorites” my project or pattern that inspires me to do more.

Being able to see that 42 people have “favorited” my Claude Pattern and that 18 people have it in their queue is such a great feeling. To think that my little warm fuzzy could generate so many warm fuzzies for me, is just amazing.

Speaking of warm fuzzies, I guess I should show you my most recent project.

Little Lamb Little Lamb

This little lamb is a pattern by Barbara Prime at Fuzzymitten.com. The pattern is very well written and makes me rethink my previously held belief that crochet was the only way to make toys. It seems that if you know how to use knit stitches for shaping well enough, you can make very elegant patterns. I’m not at that level, but using someone else’s pattern was great fun. You do have to worry a little bit more about stuffing knit toys, since they tend to stretch a lot more than their crochet siblings.

The yarn for this project is Lion Brand Fisherman’s wool in Natural and Nature’s Brown. The sweater comes from the Natural Fisherman’s wool I dyed with Kool-Aid. I made the top down raglan cardigan for him on size US6 needles without a pattern. Garter stitch neck, button bands, bottom and cuffs, made it pretty simple to make. I used yo button holes so that the cardigan really can come off.

His eyes are hematite beads.

I’m so pleased with how he turned out, that I decided to keep him, rather than send him off as a gift. I have almost finished knitting a second lamb who will take the journey instead. 🙂 This time I kept track of how long it took to make and after adding it all up, it took 5 hours to knit and assemble the lamb without accessories.

People are always asking how long it takes me to make something, so I have decided to start keeping better track of time. Obviously I don’t knit things because it is cost effective, but it is interesting to track.

I also made myself a summer hat. After looking around and not finding a pattern for a cotton cloche, I decided to make my own. I haven’t really settled on the hat band yet, so this one is not attached.

hat front

The hat is crocheted with two strands of King Tut Cotton I got from our Twisted Stitcher’s Yarn swap . I used a size I hook with the yarn doubled so that it has more structural integrity.

I have written the pattern in spreadsheet form here if anyone is interested.

The band is knit using the pattern for this lace headband, but I would definitely add a garter stitch edge if I made it again. It just curls too much, even after blocking. The flower is the Spring Daisy on this page.

The brim increases start just behind the ears and go out just beyond the edge of my glasses. I like the style of cloche hats and look forward to wearing it this summer. It is also easily stuffed in a bag, which is another requirement when I look for hats.

Catch up post: featuring FOs and dying

At the end of March, there were a couple more birthdays, and here is what I sent.

For my Dad, there was another Claude the Cactus.  This one was made with Lion Brand Jiffy in Avocado and  Fun Fur.  The fun fur I used on the first  Claude was probably 5 years old, and it seems that the product has changed somewhat.  The new Fun Fur seems to be a single thread sticking out, where as the old stuff had 2 or three threads twisted together.  This means that the new stuff is much finer and higher density, which hides the green.  To counteract this, I gave Claude II a haircut.  I trimmed ~1/4 to 3/8″ of fur off all over his body to make sure the green could be seen, and I trimmed even more around the eyes.

I also found some novelty yarn at AC Moore that worked perfectly for gravel and freestyled a pot for him out of some TLC acrylic, as well.  I put a little bit of stuffing between gravel and pot bottom, but not much.

Dad's Cactus

For my Grandpa Z, I knit a teddy bear from the Prima website.  I used Lion Brand Fisherman’s wool for the body and some green mystery yarn I got at my Market class at Stitches East in Baltimore last October for the sweater.  The only modification I made was to lengthen the legs.  Where the pattern says to knit 9 rows of reverse stockinette, I knit 13.  I used a 30 mm doll joint to connect the head to the body so that it would turn, and I string jointed the arms and legs with yarn.  Eyes are onyx beads and nose is embroidery thread.  I dreaded sewing the pieces together by hand enough that I stitched the head and body pieces together on the sewing machine.  In retrospect, back stitching with yarn isn’t so bad, and I could have done the whole thing without too much trouble.

Grandpa's Teddy Bear

More recently, I tried dying yarn with Kool-Aid.  I had about 67 yards of Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool in Natural from a project I can’t blog about until June, and I decided to experiment with dying.  I read a little about dying with Kool-Aid, and when I went to the laundromat, I stopped into the grocery store nearby to buy some Kool-Aid to play with.  The flavors were limited, so I got Tropical Punch, Cherry and Grape.  I wrapped the yarn around the dining table and chairs to make a really long loop.  I then soaked the yarn for a while in a bath of woolwash and water for about 15 minutes.

I set up my 3 plastic tubs with 2 packets of kool-aid each and distributed the skein between the three.  After  4  two minute heat cycles in the microwave (with ~ 10 to 15 minute breaks between) all the color was absorbed and it looked like this:

( clockwise from left: grape, cherry, tropical punch)

Kool Aid dying, after the color is sucked up

I then let it cool, hung the skein on the curtain rod to dry, and then wrapped it into a skein around my swift.

Kool-Aid Dyed yarn

Still not sure what I will do with the yarn, but it was a fun experiment.

Last Thursday, I went to our Twisted Stitcher’s Meetup  where we had our quarterly yarn swap.  I didn’t take very much in, but I did bring a bunch home.  One was this intriguing DK weight yarn of unknown composition that belonged to someone’s mother.  I had no good way of knowing how much was there, so I decided I would knit a shrug.  I swatched some fancier lace patterns, but they got lost in the coloring of the yarn, so I ended up choosing a simple eyelet pattern from the Barbara Walker Treasury, book 1.  It is Quatrefoil Eyelet (pg 171) and I used the Lace Rib (pg 48) pattern for the edging.  I used standard raglan shaping  ( knit in front and back on either side of stitch marker on every knit row).

I haven’t blocked it yet, but I’m afraid it is going to grow.  I probably should have separated the sleeves earlier, but it looks okay right now.  I will post new pictures after I block it, but I couldn’t help wearing it today.  It was 67 and beautiful outside, so Scott took these pictures.

Swap Yarn Shrug

Swap Shrug, Back

Without posting about the project I’ve been working on as a gift for a friend, I think this about catches up my fiber endeavors.

Spring, where are yooou…?

Danny Daffodil  Danny's side view

Danny Daffodil would like to take a moment to point out to Spring, if you are reading this, that it is high time you let the sun shine in.  He’s ready to play, but still worried about the cold.  He’ll even show you the way.

Danny is freeform crocheted out of Caron Simply soft and Red heart Soft yarn.  For some reason, I had a picture of a flower guy pop into my head and I just had to make him.  Probably one of the stranger dolls I’ve made, but he’ll keep Claude company.  🙂

Inspiration

I’ve been trying my best to create more balance between my fiber habit and my other responsibilities. I have been trying to finish projects before more get started, tend to my yarn stash and craft area to keep it manageable and at least be aware of how much time I spend doing what.

Having said that, Ravelry is really not helping. 🙂 I’m sure many of you know about it already, but for the non-fiber-frenetic among you, it is an online community of fiber folks that is really revolutionizing the way people connect on-line. It has something for every knitter and crocheter. It starts with a place for each user to collect finished projects and include details like yarn choice, needle or hook size and overall happiness with the project. From there your project is in a huge database that you can browse to see any other users finished product, work in progress, or any comments they have in general. You can browse the database of patterns according to the type of item you’d like to make, the yarn you have, or search by pattern name. If you don’t have the yarn you want for the project, Ravelry will tell you where the local yarn shops that carry the yarn are and also list some on-line sources.

And if all that weren’t enough to spend a lot of time on the computer, they also have groups. Any user can form or join any group and there are TONS of them. I find myself looking at 2 or 3 pages of new groups every week just to see if there is one I might be interested in joining. And even then I miss some good ones.

Some dedicated users have formed a group called “This week in Ravelry” which puts out a newsletter/forum just to make people aware of what other people are doing with Ravelry. This is where I found a description of a group called “Picto Create“. This group has a great concept. Every Monday, a photograph is posted. The members of the group then use that photo as inspiration for creating something fiber related. I just thought I would browse, but when I saw the photo, I just had to make something.

Here is this week’s photo.

Barrel Cactus

and here is my inspired work:

Claude the Cactus

Claude on the move

Claude the Barrel Cactus

Edit: I’ve written the crochet pattern up in table form. For now it can be found here as a spreadsheet.

ETA: Use this pattern for personal enjoyment only, please do not sell your work or claim the pattern as your own.

Made with leftover Lion Brand Fun Fur and Yarn Bee Icelandic Jewels, this guy took 3 hours to make. Perfect for someone like me, who can’t keep a cactus alive, Claude will join the other crazy toys until he finds a better home.

As you can see, a 3 hour diversion brought on by an exploration of Ravelry is a fairly regular occurrence. If you haven’t found it already, you’ve been warned.

Now to start picking up the house…

Happy Birthday!

Whew, another frenzied gift making time nearly wrapped up. I’ve been out of touch but definitely busy making gifts for a string of birthdays at the end of February and beginning of March.

Today is my brother Brian’s birthday and he got his gift on Friday.

Bender Bending Rodriguez

It was Bender Bending Rodriguez crocheted from the pattern here. He’s in worsted weight yarn, so he is roughly 22″ tall, rather than the 13″ that the pattern author got in DK weight. Big enough he can hold his own beer. 🙂 I sewed a small round “pillow” out of scrap fabric that i filled with poly pellets for his bottom. I’ve had trouble in the past with the pellets falling out of the crochet holes, so I figured this was the safest approach. There are no poly pellets in his feet or hands.

I’ve also fallen head over heels for Shrinky Dinks (plastic that shrinks to 1/3 of it’s original size with 9 times the thickness) and made this card with a magnet on front by tracing a screenshot from Futurama onto a sheet of Ruff n Ready Shrinky Dink that I purchased at Michaels.  I played with pre-printed Shrinky Dinks as a kid, but only recently sought them out for general crafting.

Shrinky Dink card/magnet

For my Mom’s birthday on February 27th, I knit a small purse from a kit (called Lissa) I purchased at Stitches in Baltimore from Swallow Hill Creations. Stringing the beads and knitting on 000 needles probably make this a one of a kind project. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the purse and the card, so hopefully I can update you with a picture from my folks.

For Scott’s Grandma’s birthday on the 24th, I made a little melon ball kitty from mercerized fingering wt. cotton from this pattern, and free-styled a cupcake container. I also made a Shrinky Dink card.

Littlest kitty Shrinky Dink birthday card

The first birthday was my Aunt Carolyn’s on the 21st. and she got a melon ball kitty named Whimsy in his cupcake house. This was based on the idea that everyone needs a little whimsy on their birthday. He has a Shrinky Dink name tag.

Whimsy and his cupcake house

I’m also working on a sweater for Scott out of Cascade 220. I’m hoping to get it done before it is too warm for wool, but since I’m working without a pattern, it could be a trick.

At the prospect of winding all the yarn I would need for his sweater, I decided to invest in a yarn swift and ball winder. In addition to being fun, it has already saved tons of time that I would have spent winding balls by hand. As you can see it doesn’t clamp on every table, but I managed to find a place to use it. 🙂

Swift and Winder

I haven’t been very good at writing a narrative and I do hope to improve, but in the mean time, I do have lots of pictures. 😛

I have not forgotten the improved knitting bag sewing instructions, but the day I was working on that, I was called by a recruiter for an interview and things have been crazy ever since. I hope to have some time in the upcoming week to get that finished and posted.

A little bit of..

It has been a little while since I have posted, and I don’t have finished objects to show for it, but I will fill you in on what I have been up to.

I have been doing a little of this:
Elefuffle construction
Making another Elefuffle to verify the pattern and take pictures of the steps.

and this:
Fuzzy bookmark
Knitting swatches from the Barbara Walker Treasuries ( with my very fuzzy bookmark near by)

and using this
Rowan Yarn Company Soft Tweed
To make a new knit jacket (wip)
Jacket-WIP

and this:
Messenger bag prototype
Prototyping a messenger bag for knitting. I made my first zipper pocket in the lining of this bag using this tutorial.

and this:
Valentino's surprise birthday party
Dancing in a NYC club for Valentino’s birthday party ( he’s the one on the right). Valentino is Scott’s office mate and his wife really surprised him for his birthday. She had a Decoy party on Friday night to make him think that his birthday celebration was over. Then she managed to get him to the club where all of us were waiting. Not a very good picture, but it was 2 am, after all. We had a hotel downtown NYC for Sat. night, so we danced until about 2:30 and took a cab home. I could have danced ’til dawn, but Scott made a little too much use of the open bar in the first hour to last that long.

I also saw Larissa after her trip to AZ and she brought me this:
Yin and Yang yarn
Yin and Yang Yarn from Southwest Trading company. Ideas are marinating in my brain on the best way to use these. Until then, into my stash they go.

As you can see, I’ve been occupying my time with a variety of things, but haven’t had the determination to finish any of them.

I will finish them eventually, but until then,

Ciao.

Floppy Elephant

Floppy Elephant

Originally uploaded by Stellar Babble.

Here I decided to try a standard body, but the challenge was to attach all parts without sewing. As a result, the legs are floppy but crocheted in. The ears and tail are also crocheted with the main body.
The only sewing was to embroider the eyes and weave in ends.
I’m not sure how I would explain what I did to attach the legs, but I’m willing try.

Good Idea or Amigurumi gone wrong?

After a conversation with my Mother-in-law about the Bath Puffs I gave her for Christmas being good size and shape for young kids to use as balls, I had this idea.

“Why not crochet a little animal with a puff for a body that could be used as a toy? I’ve never made an elephant before, so I’ll try that.” This is what I came up with.

The ELEFUFFLE

When you are sitting at home dreaming up things, it is hard to know if what you’re making is cute or crazy. The ladies at knit night seemed to not think I was crazy, so my question to you is, if I were to write up the pattern would you be interested in it? Would you buy one of these little guys if you don’t crochet? I am trying to gauge whether it is worth the time, or if I should work on something else. The pattern would definitely have better pictures. 🙂

Thanks in advance for your comments/e-mails.

Sited: Long Lost UFO

(That’s UnFinished Object for the non-fiber folk)

This blanket has to be the longest I’ve let a project go in quite a while. And even worse, I am making it for the daughter of a friend in Texas who sent me the yarn in July! I had to come up with a second yarn to go with the fluffy pink and purple yarn that was just fingering weight, but I should have done it sooner. At least she should get it for Christmas.

The yarn is Dream Girl by Yarn Bee (Hobby Lobby Brand) in color “cordelia jane” with Caron Simply Soft in white. I think I used 6 skeins of the Dream girl and 2.5 of the simply soft, and the final dimensions are 42″ square. I used a simple Double Crochet Shell Pattern like the Happy Baby Blanket from Lion Brand.

The request came after I made this blanket as a baby gift for the newborn, and big sis wanted a baby blanket after her original one was lost. Hopefully this will make her happy. 🙂

Paige on Blanket

It makes me happy to get it off of the To-Do list.  I am hoping to have all projects currently in my mental queue completed before the end of the year and spend a little time thinking about what I want to make next year, rather than the purely impulsive cast-on behavior that has been dominating my knitting for the past few months.

I hope to at least have a mix of planned and unplanned knitting.  🙂  I’ll let you know how that goes.

A Horse of a Different Color

A little while back, Larissa asked me to crochet a couple of toys for friends with new babies. The first one I finished right away. It was this dragon based on a pattern for the Baby Snow Dragon by oldbaglady on Crochetville. I added more spines and a pair of wings, and he flew off to his new owners right away.

The second one took longer. I was trying to create an original cat pattern, but finally gave up after every attempt looked more scary than cute. I settled on making a horse, since I hadn’t before and have good memories from childhood of a stuffed horse named Morris. I used a pattern from Katrina’s Crochet Creations for Amara the Unicorn. I sewed the legs on so that they are fixed and used yarn for the eyes and nostrils, rather than glue on beads as suggested. The tail was put on with the same “latch hook” method rather than one tassel.  He will be trotting off shortly.

Other projects are racing along, but will not be revealed until the packages are opened.

Overdue update

So this appears to be a quarterly posting; I just have not gotten into blog writing, though blog reading, I love!

I will try again to update my blog more frequently; Ravelry is certainly a good motivator. That website is a huge collective database linking people, projects, patterns, and yarn with forums and groups to boot. I enjoy looking at other people’s blogs so much, I feel a little guilty remaining anonymous.

So, since last I posted…

  • We have successfully moved to Highland Park, NJ and Scott is working hard on his new subject: modeling of piezoelectric materials at Rutgers with Dr. Vanderbilt in Condensed Matter Physics.
  • I have been looking for work that might use my background, but the options seem to be few and far between.  I will have to start looking outside of MatSci soon, since there seem to be plenty of jobs in other disciplines.
  • Rather than obsess about finding a job, I’ve been getting crafty! Between knitting, crochet, papercraft and now sewing, I have found plenty of ways to distract myself. Here are pictures of a few of my projects.

Tank Top with Tahki Amigo yarn
Like the yarn, not sure I love the pattern. Sewing on the straps before sewing the side seam meant that I have too much strap material under the arm. Not sure how to deal with that, so it’s just a UFO for now.


Thank you note
Mixed media card with crocheted violets sewn to a leaf-stamped 2″ x 2″ square. Curtains are paper tied on with ribbon.

Coasters

A “try out your sewing machine project”. Found at Allsorts.

Wrist Rest

A simple sewing project- Wrist rest filled with poly pellets and covered with a washable pillowcase.
Some fabric I picked up cheap in Texas to practice with.

Monster Can

Of course you have to be silly when using a glue gun!
My paperclip pocket looked too much like a lower jaw to let it pass without eyes. 🙂
Craftleftovers was the inspiration.

Alpaca Glove/Mittens
(from MAGknits- urban necessity pattern)

Glove part is done , but I am having trouble with the mitten cap part. Check out my dpn holder, another easy sewing project.

There’s more, but I am starting to get posting fatique. Check out my flickr photos if you want to see more. I finally set up a craft area for myself, which means I spend less time hunting for supplies and more time making things. I am also switching between crafts much more often, since it is all on hand. I’m not sure if this helps productivity, but I am certainly not bored. 🙂

In other news, I finally met some local knitters and crocheters last night! After all this virtual community lurking I have been doing, I actually got together with real knitters and crocheters! I went to the Twisted Stitchers meetup group bi-monthly meeting at a cafe in Metuchen, NJ. I met a lot of great people and had a lot of fun talking with people. My knitting was a bust (the mitten caps were just too big and I had to rip it out -I will work on it when I am less distracted) but hanging out with people was great. It has been a long time since I have hung out with people that aren’t physicists, and though those people are great, the diversity was appreciated.

Whew, I should do this more often so it doesn’t take so much time and I can cover more. There was a trip with my parents in July to Lake Placid, NY to watch my Brazilian exchange student brother compete in an IronMan too, but I don’t have the motivation to post about it right now.

Maybe later…Ciao.