Back on the Bandwagon

If you actually read this on a regular basis, you’ll notice that I was not able to post last week. My sister was here for a week long visit, and James, hubby, and I are all recovering from spending that week sick. I didn’t even crochet much, just because I didn’t have the energy.

I did get a few things done that I’d like to show you all. I don’t think I’ll get through everything I’d like, but here goes.

After fighting with the flowers on my girl baby bootie and hat set, I really wanted to try something with ribbon bows. My aunt is due any day now and they were giving me some clothes for James, so I thought it was the perfect time to try to adjust the set. I use the patterns here and here for the basic premise, and then adjusted some.  I adjusted the numbering on the last two decreasing rounds of the booties to get them a little more even. The hat, I follow the adult pattern with a G hook and baby weight yarn for the baby hat. I do 7 rounds of the 4 stitch groups. Then I hdc + 1ch in every other stitch around the hat. The last round was a hdc in each stitch and ch space. Then I threaded the ribbon through and tied a bow. I added tied bows to the booties and I love it! It looks so feminine and delicate.

pink bow set2

The other main thing I worked on for my shop was a new hat for the unisex baby set. I didn’t like the brimmed hat at all. And with a few friends asking me to make brimmed hats that look like baseballs, I knew I needed to find a new hat pattern. If you follow my facebook page, you’ll have seen the before and after. The pattern for the new brimmed hats can be found here. I think the brim should be easily adjustable to fit other sizes of hats. I just love how it is rounded on the corners and doesn’t have a weird wave to it. I also made it in baby weight yarn to match the booties. I also believe I went down a hook size, and I only did a sc edge after I did the brim, not before and after like the pattern says.

blue set3

I so love doing baby items. And more may be in my future. I’ll tell you why next post!

Until then, thanks for checking in!

Animal Hats 2.0

It seems like I was just trying out animal hats for the first time. Maybe it’s because I was. I can’t believe that it was only Jan 3rd that I opened my etsy shop and the 4th that I started this blog. It feels like much much longer than a few weeks. I can’t believe how many new things I’ve gotten to try and how much  my crocheting has improved in these few weeks.

Some of my mommy friends ordered some of the animal hats so we got to talking about them. I am planning on adding a dog to the mix, and probably a bunny, but we also were talking about other animals we like, such as raccoons and woodland animals. I spent some time looking at pictures of raccoons and seeing if I could find a pattern, but there aren’t many out there. So I figured I would give it a try since it’s pretty darn similar to the fox. This is what eventually came about. (yeah, i know the ears are a bit crooked. They aren’t that easy to sew on straight and even.)

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I knew I could make the hat up really easily. The ears are also the same as the foxes. So what it really came down to was the mask and the nose. I originally wanted more realistic looking eyes and mask area, but I haven’t quite figured out how to do that just yet. So I went with this mask.

This is an adult sized hat so I wanted the mask to be large enough to fit. Here’s how I did it.

in black

chain 30

row 1: hdc in 2nd stitch and the next 12. DC in next 3. Hdc in next 13. ch 1

row 2: hdc in first 3, chain 10 (skip next 10 spaces), DC in next 3, chain 10 (skip next ten spaces), hdc in last 3 spaces.

row 3: hdc in first 3, 17 hdc in chain space, dc in next 3, 17 hdc in chain space, hdc in last 3.

row 4: hdc across, switch to white yarn

hdc around mask in white. slip stitch to first white stitch. fasten off.

 

So there’s that! I think the next time I make it I will make my chain length a little longer so I can have some wider opened eyes.  I think it would be pretty easy to scale this down in stitch number for a child and use sc and hdc instead of hdc and dc.

 

The other new thing was the nose. If you look back at my first fox, the nose is pretty skinny and gives it a wil’e coyote look. Soo my goal was to widen this nose up so I could shape it into more of a triangle (the pictures don’t really show this) since both a fox and raccoon face is somewhat angular.

For the adult nose I dc15 in a magic ring (i love this technique) in black. slip stitch to 1st stitch to close off.

round 2: 2dc in each stitch around. slip stitch to 1st stitch

round 3: 2dc in first stitch, 1 in next stitch. repeat around.

round 4: 2dc in first stitch. 1 in next 4. repeat around.

round 5-6: 1dc in each stitch.

6 rounds was a good length for an adult hat.

For a toddler fox hat where i used this nose i scaled down the magic ring to 5 stitches and scaled the rest down to suit. Also with the fox nose I did the top half orange and bottom half white and lined it up with the color change of the hat. I think it looks more realistic that way.

Speaking of the fox hat, I also scaled the eyes down a round. The huge eyes gave it a slightly crazed look that I wasn’t too fond of.

20140108_162300 edited fox

 

Big difference, right? I think it looks so much better. As you can tell, I also changed the braids and now they look great! So after I updated all my animal hats (the 4 I have right now), I updated the pictures in my shop to reflect the change. They look so much better!

The other things I’ve been working on is my baby bundle set. I got my purple and white blanket to about 36 x 24 inches and finished it up. I also started working on a blue and white blanket since I wanted to see how changing the hook size and tension would affect the blanket. If you look closely at the blankets below you can see how big the differences in the blankets are. It works up much faster (obviously) so I set on 36 x 36 for the blankets for my shop. I think that’s totally doable after working on this blue and white blanket. So now customers can get the bootie and hat set, or the complete bundle of the blanket, booties, and hat. Yay! I’ve been so looking forward to getting this bundle up and available. I would be totally okay with making these all the time.

Baby Bundle5 boy bundle3

 

So that’s what’s been going on here in my crocheting adventures!

Thanks for reading!

 

It’s in the bag!

Hey everyone!

I’m going to attempt to make this short and sweet. I have to pack because we’ll be heading to the in laws tonight for the weekend. But since I’ve made a goal to myself to blog twice a week, I didn’t want to just skip over today’s post.

My goal with this blog is to show you the new things I’m attempting. I never want to bore or beat a dead horse, so today I want to show you the beautiful boutique bags I made earlier this week. And just to throw this out there, I am not clever enough with crochet right now to come up with a pattern on my own. My brain doesn’t work that way (yet, maybe one day). So today’s credit goes to this blog here. I found these bags on Ravelry (loving that website) and they were too cute to pass up.

both bags2

 

One big perk for me is that these bags are made with a bulky yarn. This lets them hold their shape even when they are empty. I imagine you can make these with worsted weight yarn, but the bulky just makes them so soft and adds just a little more appeal.

As you can see from the picture, they are made with a cluster stitch. You do 3 DC in the space between 2 clusters from the previous row. Since it’s an easy stitch, this bag works up really quickly. I also love the transition to the SC at the top for the handles. If you go look at the tutorial for this bag, you’ll see she actually has 3 different handle styles. I kind of combined two of them to get this handle here. The handles are just big enough to slip up to your shoulder so the bag is pretty much right against your underarm. Sometimes that’s want I want when I don’t want to lug a bug purse around (especially after having James and having to lug him around!). The tutorial does this bag with 8 inch wide and 6 inch tall dimensions. My green bag is about that, and the purple is 10 inches by 6 inches. The green 8 inch is perfect for little kids.

Rori with bag

(my beautiful niece)

You might be able to tell from the pictures that the purple bag has a bit of yellow in it. I thought that the spaces in the stitch might be big enough for a pencil to slide out. So I just grabbed a scrap piece of material and pieced it into a little liner. It’s easily stitched in with thread and voila!

So that’s that! I hope that counted as short and sweet.

Next week I hope to show you a dog hat and a raccoon hat!

Thanks for reading!

 

Catching Up!

Do you ever have those days where you’ve got so much on your mind that you can’t really focus on anything? You’re dreading how slowly time will move through the day because you can’t collect yourself enough to get anything done? Sometimes I feel like a hummingbird flitting around from here to there, never spending much time anywhere or on anything.

That is definitely today. I have been trying to get some things taken care of in my life but I keep hitting roadblock after roadblock. There is a lot of things up in the air at the moment and all my family can do is what and see where the pieces fall. This has been weighing heavily on me and distracting me lately. So, with all that in mind, I’m going to catch you up on the things I have been working on since I posted last. I’m grateful that I finished the animal hats and was able to move on to new (and not new) things.

I’m trying to expand my shop past hats and booties right now. I have some patterns for shrugs and boleros that are going to get worked on soon, but I started with a beautiful summer top that I found here. Isn’t this beautiful?top

I also love the color. It’s perfect for spring and summer.

The beautiful thing about my experience so far is that it’s been so easy so far. At first, I was huddled over my kindle, reading the directions for the row over and over as I crocheted it out, but as I got into the rhythm it started to fly by. I shared a picture on my facebook page of it maybe a few inches tall and here it is now. It’s obviously not done, but I am almost done with one side. edited summer top

 

I am so in love already. I know that this is going to get worn by me more than a few times. :) I am about 4 inches away from being done with this piece. Then I start all over on an identical piece. Once they are both done I have a little bit to do to attach the shoulders together (according to the pattern) and then just stitch the sides together! Easy peasy.

Now I try not to celebrate too much when patterns come together really easily because I know that the next pattern may just kick my butt. But much to my surprise, the next pattern didn’t.

I guess I should tell you that I love baby hats and booties (as if you couldn’t tell in my shop). They are just so tiny and precious so I love to make them. It’s especially poignant to me at this time because opening this Etsy shop and spending so much time between James and crocheting has helped me not focus on having another baby. When James was 7 months (back in April) we were under the assumption that hubby was getting deployed in about a year. We really wanted to have kids close in age since we’re only planning on having two and hope that they will be good friends. Luckily, the deployment was cancelled so now we don’t have a time constraint. But from the time James was 9 months to 15 months, we were trying to conceive a sibling for him. My baby fever was unbearable. It was terrible months of tracking days and taking tests. Lucky for us I got pregnant right away in May, but it was a chemical pregnancy, meaning that I lost it around 4 weeks. It was pure devastation that I’d known one time before (before James). Obviously we kept trying for a long time and it just wasn’t happening. So we took December off. And we’ll probably take this month off, too. And what a relief it has been. But it wouldn’t be so easy for me to just step back if I didn’t have this to fall on.

So back to crocheting. This next pattern is a really cute baby bootie (more of a boot style than I’d tried before). They work so fast and easy. (You can find the pattern here.) I sat down Sunday night and found this pattern and immediately pulled out my yarn. I made the pair to it last night and listed them in the shop. Here’s how they look.

best booties2 best booties4

I adore these so much. Obviously they can be made in any color that baby sport weight yarn comes in and I think they are so sweet! I had zero problems making them and will love making them again. I had to list them right away in hopes that someone buys a pair so I can make them again (I really don’t need any more pairs just lying around with nowhere to go).

Between these two projects I have been working on the baby blanket that I previously posted about. I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten about 4 or 5 inches added to it and think I have decided on a good width to end it on. I still need to figure out the dimensions that I want to use for blankets to sell with the complete baby bundle (blanket, booties, and hat. what more could you need?). But I’ll be glad to get this one done so it’ll stop leering at me in the back of my mind.

That is all that’s going on with me at the moment. I did buy some yarn to start on some purses, and I’ll continue with this summer top. After that we’ll continue into the world of shrugs and boleros. It should be interesting..

Thanks for reading!

 

what does the Fox say?

If you watch Disney’s Robin Hood you would know that that fox says “oo-da-Lolly!” Speaking of that version of Robin Hood, did anyone else find themselves with a crush on a cartoon fox?  It’s okay if you don’t admit it. I won’t judge you.

So why am I thinking about foxes? Well a few of my mommy friends asked if I can do animal hats. Well I’d never tried animal hats yet, but I was certainly up for the challenge. I’ve admired animal hats for a while. I also like the look of an earflap hat, so this was a win all around.

My first attempt was an owl hat. That animal had been specifically mentioned and I do remember seeing them around a little bit. So I searched through Ravelry’s pattern database (love that website) and ended up here, on Repeat Crafter Me’s blog. This lady is pretty much what I’d like to be if I ever grow up, just judging on the little I’ve seen.

So these hats start off easy enough. You just work through the basic beanie, add the earflaps, and then go onto the face. I decided to go with a newborn size. That way it uses the least amount of yarn if I don’t like it, and I have to pull out the least amount of stitches if I mess up. I also have a nice teal that I thought would be a cute accent color. It came together easily enough, earflaps included, but I don’t have a pic of just the basic hat. Bear with me.

I got the eyes all done and realize I only have huge black buttons  here. So of course I had to try them out. Nope. Never. Not a good idea. It looks like my owl is a little delayed.

20140106_203016

But he has potential!

Do you see another problem with this picture? That hat is absolutely tiny! That is my little fist in that hat, so you can see that that probably won’t fit a newborn anytime soon.  So I left him be (because it was bedtime and I was wiped out) but promised I’d get him better fitting eyes the next day.

20140109_190539

That’s better! Now the owl actually looks pretty good, I think!  I showed him off to my mommy friends (they’re my sounding board right now and get to see all my stuff first) and someone asks about a fox. I have always loved foxes. I think they are one of the most beautiful animals and love how they are always the cunning, clever animal when they are portrayed. I figured it can’t be too hard to put some ears, eyes, and nose on a hat.

Since all of these were new to me, I really wanted to try them in different sizes. This time I went back to Repeat Crafter Me and found her child size. Now, I take that to mean a kid anywhere between 6 and 10. I have quite a few nephews in this age range that I thought I could use as models.

Going right from the owl to the fox was easy. It’s the same basic beanie, just a bit bigger. I got a really nice orangey brown and used white as the accent color. Now that’t I’ve finished it, I can see that I won’t be doing as many rows in the white next time.

20140107_194430

But all in all, I think it looks great and I’m really happy to proceed with the face. But before I get to the eyes and snout, I want to tackle the ears. I need an outer ear and an inner ear. The toughest part for me is going to be getting the ears the same size. It took ear number 2 and 3 to get a good matching pair. I did the same basic concept of the earflaps, using a half double crochet stitch, decreasing every other row until it got down to 1 stitch, and then sc all the way around. I did the same for the inner ear in white, just started with 2 less stitches than the outer ear. I stitched the ears together using the orange yarn and set them aside to finish the face. I used the same eyes as the owl and chose a green for the irises. I loved the contrast between the green and orange. After adding the buttons to the eyes, they are ready to be sewn onto the hat.

The nose I’m just figuring out by trial and error, since I knew the basic of what I wanted, it took me 2 tries. I did a magic circle of 10 sc in black to start. Then I did 2dc in each stitch in the orange and stayed with that width. I did try bigger, but it was starting to look like a bear nose.

Getting the face all done took me a few hours. I was at my sister’s house so James could play with his cousins and the kids she watches. If I had sat down by myself with no distractions, this face would have come together in much less time.

20140108_152613

The first things I sewed on were the ears and nose. I wanted to get the ears on with nothing hindering, so they went on first. As you can see in the picture, having the inner and outer ears made them thick enough to stand up on their own. The nose went on next and i tried to get it as centered as possible. I kept a hold on one spot of the nose and hat while stitching to make sure I didn’t inadvertently pull the nose to one side while stitching it on. The eyes were the last and easiest. Since I could use the ears and nose as positioning guides, I had no problem getting them centered to each other and the other features. After sc around the entire hat and getting the braids put in, he’s all done.

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The only problem is that he fits my son, who is 16 months. That hat is not going to fit a 6 to 10 year old! And do you see the top? It’s a little pointed.  At this point I go back to Repeat Crafter Me, but here, to her penguin hat pattern.  She had been having problems with a pointed hat top and said that she had fixed it. I also decided just to go up a hook size in the hat pattern to see if that would fix my size problem. With all this in mind, I start the penguin.

He was definitely easier than the fix. There was much less to put together. I could also see that the hat size was bigger than the fox and should fit a child’s head.

20140109_160658

The face was the easiest since it’s one big piece of white with 2 button eyes and a little beak. I got it all done, put together and on the hat. Only after I had taken pictures did I notice that this hat was looking more owlish than penguin. And I had stitched the face onto the back side of the hat. That was so frustrating. I’m pretty sure hubby thought I was going to blow a gasket and maybe throw some things around. But I unpicked it all, gave him smaller eyes, and put his face on the front of the hat. Much much better. Doesn’t the second face look much more like a penguin? And to be honest, those big button eyes were freaking me out!

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So that is my tale of the animal hats. They took a lot of energy to get done right. I’m so glad I got the hat sizing figured out. I think maybe the next time I do a yarn run to the store, I’ll pick up a light brown to do a dog. And I’m always up for custom orders! But for now, it’s going to stay these three.

20140109_194516

All in all, I’m please with how they turned out. Maybe when I’ve got my blanket done (which I have also been working on) I’ll make an animal hat for me. I do think that penguin is pretty adorable!

Thanks for reading!

With beauty comes pain!

And I don’t mean me! If I can get into a hot shower that day, that totally counts as me getting beautiful, right? Okay, so maybe you’re rolling your eyes right now because here I am saying I don’t have time everyday to shower but I’m on here blogging. You caught me. I could go shower right now since my little snuggle bug man is asleep. Or I could update you on my current project that is giving me grief.

For those of you that crochet, or craft at all I suppose, do you ever find yourself working on a certain project just to keep getting frustrated with it? Then you put it down and go work on something else for a while and meanwhile it’s there, looming at you from the “works in progress” basket in your front room. You think “maybe I’ll make a headband right now,” because you need to get your fingers in the yarn, but there it is. Just waiting for you to pick it up and struggle through. Silently judging when you pick up something easier.

Okay, well maybe it’s not that bad. But it totally feels like it, right? Well, that thing is my blanket. My beautiful pain in the butt of a blanket. (See this is where the beauty comes in.) I found this baby blanket pattern here and I fell in love with it. So on a recent trip to the in laws I started this project up. It started out easy enough. And by start, I mean like the first 2 rows. Then the problems started.

20140106_113018

The blanket alternates rows of single crochet (SC) and double crochet (DC). On the rows of double crochet you skip the first stitch, do the next 3 and then come back to the stitch you missed. This gives you that lovely crossed stitch you can see in the picture. Easy peasy. Groups of four. I can handle that. Until all of a sudden you get to the end of your dc row and see you don’t have room for a full set of 4. Or you have 5 stitches. So all of a sudden I’m pulling the blanket up to my face to eyeball it and find where I messed up. I can see where my row seems like its off from the one below it (see how all the groups of 4 line up so beautifully on top of each other?) but that means I’m going to have to yank out my row and probably part of the one below to find out what went wrong. I did discover if my dc row is off, it means my sc row is off, too.

So here’s my list of ridiculous mistakes.

1. Not adding a sc in the turning chain of the dc row before it. (there’s that cursed turning chain again!)

2. Somehow wiggling my cross dc stitch too much and giving it room to look like it needs to sc in the next row (thereby throwing my whole 2 rows off).

3. Not doing a cross dc stitch at all in 1 (or more) of the groups of 4.

4. just plain skipping a spot where a sc needs to be.

It’s sad, really, how often all of these mistakes happened before I got really careful and quit doing them. It got to the point that my blanket was littered with bobby pins. Bobby pins? Yep! I realized they make very good stitch markers in a pinch. So here’s my blanket as wide as it goes (3 feet). And for many rows of sc, imagine ever 4 stitches there is a bobby pin dangling down. All the way across the 3 feet of blanket. I guesstimate there were close to 40 bobby pins. It was quite the sight.

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But as I did that, my mistakes started becoming fewer and fewer. Then I went to pins every 8 stitches. As I’m doing all the sc and pinning I’m going “3,2,1,4. 3,2,1.4. 3,2,1,4.” counting backwards to make sure I got the pins in the 4 spot and that I ended with a 4 and then the turning chain stitch. Sometimes the counting was in my head, and sometimes not. I’m sure I looked quite the sight with a frazzled look of concentration and bobby pins being put into a blanket. Thankfully no one laughed. Finally I got down to pins every 20 or so stitches. Then no pins at all. But by the time we got back from the in laws I am so ready to be done with this blanket. But does it look anywhere close to done? Nope. It’s just about and inch shy of being halfway. That’s it.

So why am I still fighting with this blanket? I’m not really sure. I think a lot of it is that this blanket is so beautiful and looks so intricate. But more of it has to do with this being my very first blanket and having to finished what I started. So sometime in the next month this blanket will get done! I hope to be able to post a finished picture in that time frame. I guess the bigger question is, will I keep making blankets like this?

And to that I’m answering yes, mostly. I will keep doing this blanket (just call me crazy), but I think next go round it won’t be 3 feet by 3 feet. Maybe just a little smaller like 30 by 30. And I do think I can get away with going up a hook size. Those stitches are tiny! I hope to be able to find a way to make this blanket to my liking so I can combine in with some baby hat and booties to make the ultimate baby bundle. (By the way, I just added my baby bootie and hat sets to my shop. They are adorable and I can’t stop awwing over them.)

What do you guys think? Any suggestions for me? Do you have a project that sits on the shelf waiting to be finished?

No time to just dabble a toe, I’m jumping in feet first!

Oh my goodness. If anyone had told me a month ago that I would be spending almost all of my free time looking at crochet patterns, attempting those patterns, and then listing them in an Etsy store to sell, I probably would have raised an eyebrow at you and walked away. This was never even a thought for me. But here I am. I learned to crochet the first time a long time ago. I think I was in 5th or 6th grade. My friend crocheted really well and tried to teach me, but she never told me about what is known as the turning chain. Once you finish a row you typically need to add in a chain or two to give you the height to start a new row. I had no idea. So you can imagine that what started out as an innocent square hot pad (easy enough, right?) would be roughly the same shape as a Christmas tree. The bottom started out nice, but it got smaller and smaller as it went higher. I was flummoxed. I think that’s when I put the crochet down and didn’t ever really look back. Fast forward 11 years and enter hubby with his nifty little “I taught myself to crochet” book. Left handed section included! I think the moment I picked up a hook and yarn and flipped through that book I was a goner. The next month and a half got sucked into a time vortex as I rediscovered the world of crochet. It got worse the further on I got. I found online patterns. The DIY and craft section on Pintrest became a best friend. And conveniently, it was just in time to make some things for a secret santa gift I was working on. I learned so many things making that scarf, mittens, and headband. And the passion just kept growing. Long story short, with a very encouraging hubby and group of friends (and a lovely toddler son who models hats for me), I started making things that I liked and opened a store on Etsy. I opened it up officially last night and have a measly 3 listings. I even dabbled the tiniest bit in photo editing (and I do mean the tiniest) to help my photos. I had cards made even, and now I’m here. I like to think that this is a bit more than shamelessly promoting my store. It’s a place for me to spill everything crochet related (and maybe some not related) that has been floating around in my head so maybe I can sleep at night. There will be pictures and probably stories of frustration about how something isn’t coming out quite right. But I hope if I do this long enough, you’ll see me succeed at learning new patterns and selling beautiful items. That’s what I want. Image