12.17.2009

"Too Cute" Christmas gift




My wonderful professional crochet mentor Jocelyn Sass gave me a crochet pattern for Christmas. It is a pattern for this adoreable bear. This is hands down the cutest crocheted bear I've ever seen. You can see more pictures or purchase the pattern from http://www.toocutecrochet.etsy.com. Isn't she just adoreable?!

12.11.2009

Eve (from Wall-E)



I have a 2-yr old that LOVES the movie WALL-E. So, for Christmas I decided to crochet "Eve" for her. We purchased a WALL-E toy and gave it to her for her birthday, so I decided that now she needs an Eve. I figured this out as I went along and did not write it down, so there will not be a pattern available from me for this. I thought it turned out pretty good. What do you think? It is stuffed with fiber-fill. I made it with Hobby Lobby's "I Love This Cotton". As cotton yarns go, it is very soft.

A few months ago I put out the message to friends and family that I wanted to make a group project of putting together some afghans for charity. Several friends responded by making squares. I was able to put together four afghans! Great work ladies! The pattern is from the http://www.redheart.com/ website. I first saw it in their magazine crochet today. I want to say that it was in the Sept/Oct issue. You can now download it for free from their website. They also suggested in the magazine a number of charities that would accept donations of the afghans to be given to those in need. I had planned to donate it to the organization they mentioned called Warming Families. I found when I looked at their website http://www.warmingfamilies.com/ that they work locally through area coordinators. There is not however a coordinator in Oklahoma, so I took it upon myself to find a local organization that could use them. I took them to The Hope Center in Edmond at Danforth and Broadway where they will be donated to individuals that are poor and/or homeless. They all turned out really nice.

The first afghan pictured is made of squares in dark green, light green,
rose pink, tan and navy blue. All of these squares were made
by my good friend Heather. Way to go Heather! The next
one pictured has squares in bright pink, periwinkle, plum
purple, gray, and a variegated yarn that contains blue, purple,
and white.The pink, perwinkle, and gray squares were made by
yours truly, the plum purple, and variegated squares were made by my excellent friend Darci. Thank you Darci! The next one pictured contains squares in olive green , dusty purple, gray, burnt orange, tan, ecru, a couple ecru w/ magenta, and a few that are made of a variegated yarn in fall colors. The olive green, dusty purple, burnt orange, and tan were made by my wonderful mom. She's a great lady that I love very much! The ecru and ecru w/ magenta were made by my friend Darci (thanks again darci!). I made the gray and the variegated ones to finish it off. The last one pictured has squares in baby pink, a tweed of ecru with brown and dark gray flecks, sage green, dark tan, and a sparkly gray/silver. The baby pink squares were made by my good friend Linda; this was one of only a few crochet projects for her--she did a great job! The tweed, sage, and tan squares were made by my very good friend Kim. I didn't even know that she crocheted before she volunteered to help with this project. How fun to find another crocheting friend! The sparkly gray squares were made by my oldest sister Suzanne,
who taught me how to crochet when we were both kids.
Thanks Suzanne!

BTW, in case you hadn't noticed, I stink at formatting these blog posts. It just doesn't go well for me. Sorry about that. I'm sure I'll get better at it as time goes on. Well, thanks everyone who contributed! The helpers at The Hope Center were very glad to recieve them!








11.30.2009

Giveaway from my Etsy shop!


There is a facebook fan page called NurseryLove that is doing a free giveaway this week for a free item from my Etsy shop. You have to become a fan to enter the giveaway. Here is a link to the page: http://www.facebook.com/NurseryLove#/NurseryLove?ref=mf.
Good luck everyone!

11.19.2009

10.20.2009

Etsy Shop




Well, I've got some "Sweet Little Mittens" for sale in my etsy shop http://www.aprilcreates.etsy.com/. I should have more listed within the week and another pair finished. I go back and forth about whether or not I want to do an etsy shop. Some parts of it can be fun, but I don't have much of an idea how to run a business. The tax part of running a business is almost enough to scare me away from it. I guess that I'll figure it out as I go along, like most people do. So, stop by the shop once in awhile and see what's there. For now and the next few months it will probably be mostly infant and children's mittens. We'll see what else I come up with to put there. All the fiished items that are for sale in the shop will be made from my own original designs. Eventually I should have some patterns available to purchase as .pdf files or as hard copy. Enjoy!

10.03.2009

My very first sneak peek!

This is my very first sneak peek picture! This was taken during blocking, so the yellow dots arae pin heads. This will be published sometime next year!

9.21.2009

Still crafting

Well, it's been awhile since I have posted any pictures of projects. I have still been crafting, but I've had so many projects going at once that I haven't been finishing a lot. I also haven't been taking the time to blog about it. I have been very busy with a new baby, but I find that new babies are easier to take care of when you've been there a few times before (assuming that the baby in question is a fairly healthy, cooperative baby, which ours is). So, I have some pictures to post of projects in process. The most important and highest priority project has been a twin size quilt for our second daughter. I finished the quilt top a few days ago. Whew! I started this at the beginning of the year...maybe it was in the spring actually. I determined that I would finish it by the end of the year. With the top finished all I have left to do is the tying a binding. I really prefer the look of quilting as opposed to tying, but I wouldn't finish it for years if I had to quilt it, so oh well.
Another high priority project right now has been preparation for Halloween. I usually wind up making at least one costume. This year it was a costume for the same daughter that is getting the quilt. I'll post some pics and more info on that later, but I'm finished with that. Thanks to my friend Amber for giving us a dragon costume that we are going to make work for our oldest daughter.
This next one is a project I have been working on for awhile as my project to work on when I have nothing better to do. This is all laid out on my bed. It is hard to see all of it, I know. So, it looks rather odd. I have lots of old bits, or even large bits, of yarn that I have no intention of ever using again. Most of it is old crusty acrylic yarn that I don't care for by either feel or color. I decided that I would take these old leftovers and get some practice with stitches and techniques that I hadn't tried before. I have tried cables and plaid and various interesting stitches. I've taken these odds n' ends and laid them out on my bed into a rectangular shape. My plan is to sew them all together to make a very scrappy, and rather ugly, afghan for the kids to use in the car. I realize that it is not the least bit attractive looking, but they'll have fun with it anyway. As a bonus, I used up some old yucky yarn to make way for new yummy yarn, and I got some practice with new stitches.This picture is one of a pile of crocheted squres that are destined to by part of an afghan to donate to a charity organization called Warming Families (http://www.warmingfamilies.com/). The pattern comes from Crochet Today magazine two issues ago. Myself and several friends are all making squares that I will be sewing together and edging before sending to Warming Families. These are all the ones that I have made and a few from one friend. Many more are in the process of being made by the same and numerous other friends.This next picture is my first attempt at freeform crochet. This has not been blocked so it doesn't look as nice as it might. I had a t-shirt from a few years back that was not very long, from the days when showing your mid-drift was in style...maybe it still is... Anyway, my thought was to make two sections of freeform lace to sew together and then attach to the bottom of the shirt to make it longer. Well, I started on it and decided that I didn't like the attaching it to the shirt idea. I didn't like the look of it, but the freeform lace is pretty. If you want to try it out, you just start crocheting any which way you like. There is a book by Myra Wood called "Creative Crochet Lace" that teaches you all about the idea. It is not mindless crochet however. I like to be able to keep my hands busy crocheting while watching movies with my hubby or waiting for webpages to download on my slow computer, but this type of crochet isn't like that for me. I have to think about it. I'm not sure what I'll do with the two pieces I've made, but maybe I'll find a use for them later. It was fun to try. Maybe I'll try it again sometime.The next (and last) four pictures are of books that I have acquired over the last year. Three of them are crochet books and one is a quilting book. The first picture, I'm sure you can see the title just fine, is a nice instructional book , though I'm not sure that it's the best, for beginners. It does provide instruction on some slightly different crochet techniques that I would like to try at some point: tunisian crochet, hairpin lace, and broomstick lace. It also has numerous stitch ideas like a mini stich dictionary.This is the quilting book. I will say unequivocally that I do not like this book. I wish I hadn't bought it. For starters that blocks that are photographed for the book are not pieced well. Lots of lines that ought to be straight are crooked. They are not made in particulary nice colors. Those blocks that are intended to look like a picture of something are not detailed enough to look nice to me. So, I would not recommend it.This book is called "Crocheting on the Edge" by Nicky Epstein. It has some beautiful crocheted trims in it. It also has some patterns/project ideas. I like some of them. It is a nice book to have if you are looking to choose your own edging for a project.This is my latest acquistion. I just got this last week after ordering it two weeks ago. It is a crochet stitch dictionary. I really like the colors they used in the swatches. It has lots of stitch patterns to choose from. This is a good way to get your creative juices flowing when you are trying to come up with your own design for something.

Well, that shows you most of what I've been up to lately. The other project that I have just started, but will not make a high priority for awhile, is a felt stocking (kit) for our baby. It won't be finished by Christmas, but she won't be old enough to notice. I'll use an extra that we have this year. Another project I would like to start, but won't just yet...I can't imagine why..., is a backpack for our oldest daughter. She is not into princesses so much, she prefers dinosaurs, dragons, and sharks. She was given a princess backpack for her last birthday though, so we are using that for now. I'd like to make her a backpack and applique a dragon to the front of it. I have also drawn a cute turkey that I would like to make into an applique for a wall quilt. This is the next project that I have planned for the Needle Arts Group that I organize for my friends and church members. So, I'm happily saturated with craft projects!

9.12.2009

Publish!

Well, yesterday I had some very exciting news. I'm going to get my very first garment design published! I'm very excited. I look forward to spilling the beans about it when it comes out. I can't say much until then.

7.31.2009

3 swatches, 3 yarns, 3 stitches

These 3 pictures are the swatches I have made for the project I am planning to design. This will be a clothing article for a young girl. It will be a warm weather item, so the fabric needs to be as light and breathable as possible without being see-through. The light pink one, which has a nicer color than the picture shows, is an organic cotton called Rowan purelife. It is quite lightweight, which I like, but not machine washable--definitely a downside for a children's item. It is not especially soft, just your ordinary cotton feeling.

The magenta colored yarn is 80% bamboo, 20% wool. It is called Debbie Bliss Prima. It is very soft, and machine washable. The yarn is a little thicker than I really want though. It is DK weight, where the two others are fingering weight. The thickness combined with the wool could make a slightly warmer fabric, which is not so good during warm weather.



The dark purple yarn is a 100% mercerized (does anyone know what that means anyway?) cotton that is very densely-spun. It is RYC's Sienna. It has a neat feel to it that is kind of silky. It will make a heavier and slightly less drapey fabric than the other cotton, but it is machine washable, a definite bonus.

So, I have 3 yarns to choose from, which I chose by looking at the info for lots and lots of yarns available at my favorite yarn source, yarn.com. They have such a large selection, that I prefer that to a local yarn store most of the time. Macine washability is pretty important to me, and so is feel. However the denseness of the fabric

is pretty important when you are crocheting something for warm weather times. The RYC Sienna is the one that I am leaning toward. As a bonus, it comes in a great variety of colors. The Debbie Bliss Prima also has lots of color variety. The organic cotton has a very limited variety of colors because all of the dyes are natural plant dyes.

I also have 3 stitches to choose from. I think I like the ones in the light pink and dark purple swatches the best. The shells in the magenta yarn are nice, but I think that they may just distract from the look of the garment itself, be too busy.

Opinions to share anyone?





7.17.2009


This was my first attempt at felting. The swatches on the left were not felted, those on the right were felted. I know it's not a close-up shot, but you can probably see that there is not a lot of difference in stitch definition between the two sets. I had hoped to accomplish a near total loss of stitch definition. I felted the swatches for 20 min in the washer. I think the problem was that the water in my washer wasn't hot enough. I set it on "warm", but got water that was maybe slightly warmer than tap water. Every water source in our house seems to take a long time to warm up. Even though the washer is just on the other side of a wall from the hot water heater, it apparently has the same problem. I guess next time I'll have to try it on hot. The felted swatches have also been blocked, so they lie flatter than the others. I also made two swatches each with hook sizes H, I, and J to see how the stiffness/drape of the fabric would be with those differences. I felted one of each. Interestingly, the felting seem to pretty well equalize the difference, so that all the felted swatches have about the same drape.
In order to felt you have to start with a yarn that is at least partially animal fiber. Other fibers don't felt. I used Louet's Riverstone (100 % wool). You need friction, warm to hot water, and plain soap, such as Ivory dish soap. You can do this by hand and rub the material in the water, or you can do this in your washing machine by placing other items in the wash that are similarly colored. I found some good felting instructions by searching the Lion Brand yarn website.
I hope to eventually design a felted garment with this yarn, but obviously, I'm going to need more practice. I need to be able to consistently get the results that I want and a predictable amount of shrinkage. Then I'll have to be able to tell others how to get the same results.

7.08.2009

baby hat


I started this little hat last night and finished it this afternoon. It's very simple and small. The pattern I based it off of is one that my sister got on the internet somewhere, but I haven't been able to find it again, so I don't know who to give the credit to. It starts with a ch 4 joined into a ring, a ch 2 turning ch (which does not count as a st throughout the pattern), and 13 dc in the ring. There is another ch 2 turning ch, and 2 dc in ea dc around, join w/ a slp st. The next round is *1 dc in first dc, 2 dc in next dc*, repeat from * to * around. The next row is where I changed the pattern because I was working w/ a worsted weight yarn and a size H hook rather than sport weight yarn and a size G hook like the pattern calls for. I also want it to be small enough for my newborn, who will be needing it for a few days in 2 to 3 weeks. So, the next round is *1 dc in ea of the next 3 dc, 2 dc in next dc*, repeat from * to * around ending with 2 dc in last dc, join w/ a slp st, ch 2, turn. Each round after that is just 1 dc in ea dc, join the rnd w/ a slp st, with ch 2 turning chs that do not count as stitches, turn. This hat has 14 rnds total.

The yarn I used was Naturally Caron's Merino Wool blend. I bought it at Hobby Lobby. It is 75% acrylic and 25% Merino Wool. It is washable. The hat only takes a partial skein. This hat is purple with a bright green ribbon. I love the color combination, but I've always had different ideas when it comes to combining color. Yeah for me!

7.02.2009

Plaid Crochet


Earlier this week (end of Jun 2009) I couldn't sleep much at all one night. I was thinking about crochet all night long, and even dreaming about it when I did manage to sleep for a few hours. I've thought for awhile that I'd like to design something in plaid but didn't know how to do it...until this particular night. I figured it out during the night. I made this swatch the next day to try it out. It worked!


You have to have 3 different colors to make this particular plaid. You could use more colors, but it would get complicated. Each of the vertical stripes has to have its own strand of yarn. You use that strand of yarn for each of the stitches in that stripe. The back doesn't look pretty because you have a little bit of that yarn that gets carried up the back between rows. The horizontal stripes are just as easy as any other horizontal stripe--you just join that color and do the number of rows you want, then switch back to the base color. I made my red stripe one stitch, or one row (of sc) wide. The black stripe is 3 stitches or rows wide. All of the stitches are sc. You have to choose which color you want on top when the lines cross.


Well, I've figured out how to do the plaid. I'll probably design something with that in the future.

7.01.2009

Crochet Snuggly Quilt




I designed and made this some months ago for our youngest daughter. This is the first of my published patterns. I plan to also post it at http://www.crochetme.com/. I hope this is the first of many.


Crochet Snuggly "Quilt"
Difficulty: Intermediate

Yarn: I Love This Yarn!
Color: MC-Periwinkle, CC-Buttercup
Hook: I

Make 8 ea of fur stitch squares and "Stem & Petal Stitch" squares

Fur Stitch squares:

With CC, ch 15

Row 1: sc in 2nd chain from hook and in ea ch across (14 sc). Ch 1, turn.

Row 2: *Loop the yarn over the top of your index finger (you could also use a knitting needle or dowel). Yo, and draw through loop on hook. Sc in next sc.* Repeat across row (14 loops, and 14 sc). Ch 1, turn.

Row 3: Sc in first sc and in ea sc across (14 sc). Ch 1, turn.

Rows 4-18: Alternate repeating rows 2 and 3. Finish off.

"Stem & Petal Stitch" squares (Stitch from The Ultimate Sourcebook of Knitting and Crochet Stitches)

With MC, ch 22

Row 1: 3 Dc into 4th ch from hook, skip 4 chs, 4 dc into next ch, ch 3, skip 3chs, 1sc into next ch, ch 3, skip 3chs, 4 dc into next ch, skip 4 chs, 4 dc into last ch (15 dc). Turn.

Row 2: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc now and throughout), 3 dc into 1st dc, skip 6 dc, 4 dc into next dc, ch 3, 1 sc into next sc, ch 3, 4 dc into next dc, skip 6 dc, 4 dc into top of turning chain (16 dc). Turn.

Row 3: Ch 6 (counts 1 dc, ch 3 now and throughout), 1 sc between next 2 4-dc groups, ch 3, skip 3 dc, 4 dc into each of next 2 dc, ch 3, 1 sc between next 2 4-dc groups, ch 3, 1 dc into last dc (10 dc). Turn.

Row 4: Ch 6, 1 sc into 1st sc, ch 3, 4 dc into next dc, skip 6 dc, 4 dc into next dc, ch 3, 1 sc into next sc, ch 3, 1 dc into last dc (10 dc). Turn.

Row 5: Ch 3, 3 dc into 1st dc, 4 dc into next dc, ch 3, 1 sc between next 2 4-dc groups, ch 3, skip 3 dc, 4 dc into each of next 2 dc (16 dc). Turn.

Rows 6-9: Repeat Rows 2, 3, 4, and 5 in order.

Finish off

Join squares into a checkered pattern of four rows with four squares each.

Edging:

Note: Leave 3 unworked sc between each motif. When you complete a motif, begin next on the motif to the right of it. When you come to the corners (i.e. there is not enough room to work another motif before arriving at the corner of the blanket), work a "Corner edging motif." For all other motifs, work a standard "Edging motif." When you have worked all the motifs but one use the "Last edging motif" instructions.

With MC join w/ a slp st to the right end of any side. *Work 67 sc across that side and one additional sc in the corner.* Repeat from * to * around the blanket and join w/ a slp st to beginning sc (272 sc). Ch 1 and without turning, work a slp st in the same beginning sc as well as the next 5 sc. Begin working first edging motif with that slp st.

Edging motif

Row 1: Join yarn with slp st to designated sc (already done for first motif). Ch 3 (counts as dc now and throughout), work 3 dc in same st as the slp st. Ch 3, skp 3 sc and sc in next sc. Ch 3, skp 3 sc and work 4 dc in next sc. Join w/ slp st to end dc of adjoining motif (not necessary for first motif). (8 dc) Ch 1, turn.

Row 2: Slp st in first 4 dc, ch 3, work 3 dc in same st. Ch 3, sc in next sc. Ch 3, work 4 dc in next dc (8 dc). Ch 1, turn.

Row 3: Slp st in first 4 dc, ch 3. Work 3 dc in same st. Work 4 dc in next dc. Finish off.

Corner edging motif

Row 1: Join yarn with slp st to designated sc. Ch 3, work 3 dc in same st as the slp st. Ch 3, skp 1 sc and sc in next sc. Ch 3, skp 1 sc and work 4 dc in next sc. Join w/ slp st to end dc of adjoining motif. (8 dc) Ch 1, turn.

Row 2: Slp st in first 4 dc, ch 3, work 3 dc in same st. Ch 3, sc in next sc. Ch 3, work 4 dc in next dc (8 dc). Ch 1, turn.

Row 3: Slp st in first 4 dc, ch 3. Work 3 dc in same st. Work 4 dc in next dc. Finish off.

Last edging motif

Row 1: Join yarn with slp st to designated sc. Ch 3, join w/ slp st to last dc of adjoining motif, work 3 dc in same st as the first slp st. Ch 3, skp 3 sc and sc in next sc. Ch 3, skp 3 sc and work 4 dc in next sc. Join w/ slp st to end dc of adjoining motif (8 dc) Ch 1, turn.

Row 2: Slp st in first 4 dc, ch 3, work 3 dc in same st. Ch 3, sc in next sc. Ch 3, work 4 dc in next dc (8 dc). Ch 1, turn.

Row 3: Slp st in first 4 dc, ch 3. Work 3 dc in same st. Work 4 dc in next dc. Finish off.

Weave in all ends. You're finished!