Saturday, December 1, 2012

I'm on a digital trip to merry old England....

Won't you come along? We are discussing weighted stuffing and gusset inserts...fascinating, right? OK, maybe not so fascinating but necessary to the success of crocheted amigurumi & toys, (or knitted ones for that matter).

Please join us at CrochetAddictUK , you might even get a prize just for reading....



Friday, November 30, 2012

Where did THAT come from.....

Last night I got a message from someone on Ravelry who was confused by an instruction on my Crochet Puppet Scarf, whereby it told the user to turn the work to the wrong side. This came right after you have completed the wrist portion (or neck of the puppet) and are starting on the head.

Scarf2[1]
Original crochet puppet scarf prototype

My old brain puzzled on this and because I no longer have my handwritten notes and the pattern was published a couple of years ago. I had frankly FORGOTTEN...yikes! So I set out to do a crochet-along with the Ravelry poster. I was able to complete the puppet quickly and without any problem....IF I ignored the direction to  turn to the "wrong side". Still, this wouldn't be in the pattern if it didn't have any significance.

Then at around 3 am it hit me...you are supposed to work the stitches from the inside outwards or rather the would-be INSIDE of the puppet is now the OUTSIDE of the puppet. But why? Well, several years ago, when I first became interested in amigurumi I either read, saw or erroneously stitched all of my toys and amigurumi this way. I liked the smoother texture of the inside-out stitching.

So this morning, instead of working on some tasks that are fast becoming due I started another puppet, working from the inside. In the photo below the green puppet is worked in the usual way with the correct side of the stitches facing and the pink/brown/navy puppet is worked with the wrong side showing. I haven't used this method in quite some time but have to admit that I still like it.
















Here are some other examples of crochet projects that I have done through the years using the inside-out method of stitching....










Ear bug puppet for my friends at Desert Garden Farms











Brunswick












Brunswick and Stewie at the pool hall.











Frog rattle is done in this method.




I am interested to know if any one else works their toys from inside-outwards and if so when & why did you first begin doing it this way.

So now I have a couple of toys to add to my growing pile of charity toys but first I'm going to play with them for a while. After all puppets are people too and they deserve to be heard...POWER TO THE PUPPETS!! And finally, as my daughter, (the original Maggie Bean) says regarding my puppet gang..."when you're a puppet you're a puppet ALL THE WAY!"

















Friday, October 26, 2012

Have you seen this pattern....

This pattern, entitled "Elf Clobber" is my new favorite go-to pattern for gift knitting. What a FUN, FAST & EASY pattern!! I just love it, as does my very fashionable twenty-something daughter. I decided a few days before my daughter's birthday to finally give the pattern a try and was rewarded with fast, easy results that pleased her and ME to no end. In fact I am now on tap for additional pairs in various colors.

1st pair in the works


Original birthday gift pair of mitts 


















Second pair of mitts in the works...will line these with dark brown mohair















The pattern consists of 2 x 2  ribbed wrists with crocheted lace for the main body of the mitts and an insert of filmy, fluffy mohair for added beauty and warmth. As I've stated in the past I am a HUGE fan of multi-crafting or mixing various crafting mediums in one project and this design was just the thing....next version of Elf Clobber to go on the needles is a black on black pair, a black on red pair and then we'll see.....

Oh and a finished shawl, (also for my daughter, the Original Maggie Bean). Not too much to brag about as it is a very simple design but very effective for hugging the shoulders and a wonderful TV watching or waiting room knit. This version is knit with the same Cascade Kid Seta that I used as a liner for the 1st pair of Elf Clobber mitts and Jojoland Melody held doubled, making it lightweight, warm & fluffy. I hope she likes it.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Some Halloween Quickies....

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Such a fun way to re-use empty containers
I almost let October get away without sharing a few Halloween patterns I designed for the Red Heart website. The first one is called "Bug Infested Bowl". It is actually a knitted bowl cover designed to fit over the bottom half of a gallon tea or water jug. This is easily customized for your own container. Simply have the container cut to size and ready to go as you are knitting the cover, allowing for "fittings" along the way.

The next design is called Scary Muffins & is a crocheted life-sized large cupcake/muffin design with removable "cupcake liners". The pattern contains 4 variations of the design and they were a LOT of fun to make. Each muffin works up fast and is a great way to use up yarn remnants. For best results use some weighted stuffing in the bottom of the muffin. Additional tips can be found within the pattern notes and instructions.010


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Either pattern can be customized for other themes, seasons or holidays throughout the year. Let your imagination run wild.

And if you do go out "trick or treating" please be safe!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A change in venue....

I'm here... having moved 800 miles away from my previous home this past July 27th. It has taken me this long to adjust to it all. 

Along the way & while I was out I did a LOT of crocheting and knitting! Much of it was for my own personal therapy of sorts so I chose simple, colorful patterns. Many of the finished items will be given to charity but some of the items have been planned for some very special people I know.

Here are some of the things I worked on.....


Dyed some yarn with Kool-aid to use for a Maggie Bean doll that I need to knit.
Took a beaded scarf class at my new and wonderful LYS. Have fallen in love with this scarf design . Something about the heavy, shiny beads and the yarn is very soothing to me. Guess what folks are getting for Christmas? haha!
Crocheted some dolls for charity, adapted from Mia Zamora Johnson's wonderful Magdalena pattern. 
This one is named Maisy Flannigan. Her friend, Bootsie McDougal ,(pictured below), is also adapted from the same pattern.

I just LOVE red headed dolls so much!!



















Bootsie is riding in a crochet tote. I made 5 of these totes in varying sizes, most of them to corral my growing yarn & project stash. This mini-version is also going to charity. The pattern for the tote is called Ombre Basket by Elizabeth Trantham  and I highly recommend it for fast & easy crocheting. The tote is worked with 4 strands of worsted making for a very sturdy construction. perfect for a works-in-progress basket.

The floral embellishment is a design by a Ravelry friend entitled Tudor Rose by Becci Pamely . I just love the the way this motif is 3 dimensional.






Cutest bunny pattern on the planet by Wendy Phillips of Dollytime on Etsy and Flutterby Patch, called Baby Bunny in a Basket Crib. THIS one  is for a special birthday girl. Just need to sew up the basket crib and she's done.

This list doesn't begin to tell the tale. This is going to take several days to complete. Oh and I have a new crochet pattern coming out very soon....

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Clauderick's Magical Mystery Tour....

At least ONE of us is having a whirlwind summer vacation....my evil cow scaring frog Clauderick is currently visiting the UK where he has already ridden on a train, visited a champagne bar, shopped at Loop in London and has met a lovely female version of himself.
Clauderick and his new lady friend at the train station. 
Photo courtesy of Rav buddy IvoryTinkler.











































Uh oh, someone may have had too much to drink.
Photo courtesy of Rav friend Catknit.
Sitting in Loop surrounded by so much loveliness!
Photo courtesy of Rav friend Catknit
The fun continues with a trip to Fibre East in Bedford for a dip in the frog pond with a bunch of other friends. I am so jealous.
 
 



Monday, July 9, 2012

1/2 POUND of 100% CASHMERE for $3.69!

Thriftshop find. 100% cashmere poncho!SO easy to unravel, NO SLEEVES to deal with, an added PLUS!
Unravelling made easy using my swift.
Washed, Kool-aid dyed with Mixed Berry flavor, dried and skeined.
TWO 4 ounce skeins of fingering weight CASHMERE for a total of 226.7 grams!
Life is GOOD!





Thursday, July 5, 2012

Self-Striping Kool-aid Dyeing Recipe...

finished

















Disclaimer: in order to achieve stripes of a specified length one needs to "do the math" using a test swatch, measurement & calculations as shown in THIS tutorial.

I did not follow that advice and instead estimated my sections & lengths as I did not have a specific purpose in mind for this yarn and basically just wanted to see if I could do it.

This yarn was already part of my stash and not overly expensive so IF it had not turned out it wouldn't have been "the end of the world". PLEASE experiment on yarn you wouldn't mind messing up.

Self-Striping Kool-aid Dye Experiment Recipe

Materials/supplies:
1 skein of Plymouth Galway in color #121 (light gray-green)
2 packets Kool-aid Ice Blue Raspberry (light blue)
1 packet Kool-aid Mixed Berry (darker blue)
2 packets Kool-aid Grape for 2nd dye bath
Cooking pot

Sample yarn color was achieved in 2 separate dye baths.


Place two chairs about 10 feet apart. Wrap yarn around the chair backs to form extra long loops. Once yarn is all wrapped, tie the yarn together at intervals. I divided mine in 4ths, equally spaced.
Soak newly wrapped yarn in warm water. Fill pot 2/3rds full with water of the same temperature. Add the 2 packets of Ice Raspberry & 1 packet of Mixed Berry to the pot and stir to dissolve.
Step2
Squeeze out excess water from yarn and place 2 complete yarn sections, (between the ties), into the pot. Drape remainder of skein over into a mixing bowl or plate to catch water from the yarn.

(Sorry about the blur...dip two sections of yarn into dye, leaving other 2 sections draped over side.



Turn burner on medium heat. Do not boil. Watch pot for dye to almost exhaust. This will become evident as the water begins to get more transparent. After a few minutes dunk the rest of the yarn in the pot and let it steep until the dye is completely exhausted, (water may turn milky white or clear).







Dye has been exhausted as evidenced by the milky white color.


Let yarn cool until you can handle it without getting burned. Squeeze excess water out in a rolled towel.

 Here you see the yarn after the first round of dye....the light green sections were given a second over-dye...



...using the grape kool-aid in the same process as outlined above.

Resulting in this....

I can't wait to make a test swtach to see how the stripes look!



Hope you all had a safe and happy 4th!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

More Kool-aid fun...

This time I overdyed a skein of Lisa Souza Hardtwist Merino. My first attempt was an overdye of turquoise-y blue, a personal favorite but this time it was just a little too much, even for me. Naturally, there are no pictures of that version.
Then I overdyed the turquoise blue with red (fruit punch flavored) Kool-aid. I like it.