March 19, 2018

TCU Horned Frog

A good friend recently had a baby. As big fans of TCU, they used to attend nearly every game and really love their "frogs". I find it kind of serendipitous that this project followed so closely after Reveille the second as they are both school mascot projects.

I tried to find a yarn that was really close to the TCU purple and settled on Lion Brand Heartland in Hot Springs. I really liked the heathered look of the purple with a touch of black and felt it would be perfect for my toy. As this is for a baby I also needed something soft, but easy to clean. I also picked up some 9mm safety eyes and a couple of 38mm jingle bells. I wanted the toy to jingle gently when shook to be like a little rattle, but also something you could use to make noise while watching the game.

I used the Texas Horny Toad pattern by My Fingers Fly on Etsy. Over all the pattern was pretty fun to make up. I really loved the look of the spikes along the back and that when you seamed the back and belly together, you used that join to add more spikes to the toad. It was perfect.

I do think that the head was a bit too small as written and a little flat too, so I made my own up. I didn't write it down of course, but worked in a spiral from the nose point out to the back of the head, and used her back half of the head pattern to finish it. The look of the back post double crochet to make the face ridges is awesome. And I tried to add spikes around the face like the TCU mascot has with the two large horns over the eyes and on the top of the head.
Head from the pattern itself. Kind of flat and small...

my new and improved head
When stuffing the body I put one bell inside it, and the second into the head so it make a gentle ding ding noise when shook, perfect for a baby fan.

For a gross frog that shoots blood out of its eyeballs, I think it came out pretty cute and it would make a totally fun thing to help get the kids into the college football fandom.

Completed Size: 12" nose to tail, 8" wide in the belly
Time to complete: 15 hours since I reworked the head
Difficulty; Easy +

March 12, 2018

Reveille the second

Back in 2012, I made a Collie dog like the mascots of Texas A&M. Its owner, having loved her own, asked if I would make a second for a baby shower she was attending. I was happy to oblige and happened to have all the colors and stuff I would need on hand. As before I used the same pattern, Abbey the Collie by Nattypat and changed up the colors and made the neck fluff a bit larger like a collie dog.

This time I got a bit ambitious with the coat and added three browns in addition to the white and really tried to place the colors along the face and neck like a real dog. I did think about brushing out the yarn but thought it might be a bit too fluffy. Once again I sort of winged the cape and added the Texas A&M logo.
before trimming the fluff
I am pretty happy with how this second one turned out and it's kind of nice to see the differences and change in skill from 2012 to today. Video below to see the full turn around.

Difficulty: Easy
Time to complete: 10 hours

March 5, 2018

Dragon Doll

Following along with the Mushroom Folk, this pattern is another by Lalylala on Etsy, specifically Dirk the Dragon.

This guy was also made with a 3.75mm hook and used some of the leftover white, red and brown sock yarn from the mushrooms, with the addition of the stunning green, which I kind of splurged on. Since it was going to be so much of the toy, I really wanted a nice yarn and settled on Madeline Tosh Twist Light weight in Jade.

The the body parts were a breeze to make up, especially after the mushrooms. The only part I struggled with was the back spikes since a surface slip stitch is hard for me to do. Still not sure I got it as straight as I would have liked but in the end it turned out great. The spikes on the back, mirror so nicely those ear which might be the cutest I have ever made.

Since this one was going to live in the same house as the white portobello mushroom guy, I decided to make the scarf out of the same brown so they would coordinate a bit more. The scarf is simply three rows of double crochet worked along a long chain, about 23 inches long. With a little fringe at the ends. With the cheek blush he's really something special.

The finished doll stands about 14 inches tall.
Time to complete: 20 hours

February 26, 2018

Mushroom Folk

Well I am back with a few small projects. No idea how long this new bout of crochet will hold up especially as Sophie rapidly becomes more mobile...Gosh I started these back in fall of 2017, yikes. I was making two at the same time, one for my sister in law and one for a baby of a friend, but of course these got put aside with all the prep for Sophie's impeding arrival.

The pattern is Paul the Toadstool by Lalylala on Etsy. I picked out five colors: brown, green, off white, red, and gray, all of sock weight yarn from Joann's, think some was Vanna's Choice but it was a mix. Although the pattern calls for smaller, I used a 3.75mm hook. And since I couldn't find 6mm, I went with 9mm safety eyes.

If I remember right the legs and body worked up pretty easily. Love the long lean body look. The little neck ruff was a bit tricky to make but I love the detail as it is very mushroomy and I like that it hides the seam at the top of the arms. I made one with a white body and one with a gray body. The pattern shows a kind of light variegated yarn like a shirt, but I really couldn't find anything quite that pretty and settled for the gray. I made the white body one to see how it would come out.

In addition to the grass embroidery on the body, I also decided to make it harder on myself and add some mushrooms as well. I have very, very limited embroidery skills, but I still really like how it turned out. I did add a bit of pink blush to both faces as well. Since I was making two, I also decided to tweak the hats. I made one "portobello" hat to go with the white body, and added a few white embroidered pips to it. The second followed the pattern with red and white agaric spots.

I love the super small stitches that the small hook made, as it almost looks like fabric not crochet. I also bought her dragon and octopus patterns and really hope to make them as her dolls are just so lovely looking.

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time to complete: 40 hours each considering assembly and embroidery.

August 8, 2017

I made this

Well you might have noticed the site isn't updating anymore. Pregnancy and having a newborn will do that to you. I do hope to start crocheting again once I have two free hands and some free time, but that probably won't be anytime soon. At least I know I'm putting my hobby on the back burner this time for possibly the best reason of all... taking care of Sophie.

A post shared by Angela Skees (@khyarete) on

Anyway, thanks for sticking around.
- Angela

March 6, 2017

Library Logo

I was asked by our school's librarian to help out with some bookmarks and as I haven't had a lot of creative work outside of my normal day to day, and the yearbook, it was fun to put my brain into another gear.

The school mascot is the Viking and all the direction I was given was "a viking reading", and so my first idea was to simply look around some cool stock photo sites and see what they had, which was not a lot... But a few of the vector ideas were cool and got my wheels spinning. I thought it might be nice to show you my thought and work process here.

So here is the original inspiration logo I had seen on iStock. A pegasus in a book... not sure how it got onto my viking search, but something about the pegasus shape reminded me of a boat and the scrolls reminded me of waves...

Before I knew it I had sketched out an idea for a logo for the library. This is not what they asked for, but I figured I could use it on the bookmarks in any case, if I liked it. You can see I was messing with the sail shape in pencil, but the inked over strongly the final shapes I did like. Then I simply snapped a picture with my phone and emailed it to myself.
Photoshop one color selection
Took my sketch into Photoshop and used color select on the blue to make a new, rough, one color image that I could take into Illustrator.

Illustrator expanded trace

In Illustrator used the Image Trace function, set to Black and White logo, to get a vector drawing I could start messing with. Of course it came out really messy, so the first step was to use the Path tool to Simplify the shape and remove a bunch of extra points that I didn't need. Then I went back and took out even more points by hand so I could start getting clean simple curves and shapes.
I worked on it in three sections, the book/waves, the boat itself and finally the sail. The shapes around the shields on the side of the boat and the sail both ended up changing from my sketch. And I spent a good amount of time getting the left side of the water/book area right and then simply copied and flipped it to make the book be a perfect symmetrical image.
After tweaking the boat to where I liked it, I took the circle shape from our school logo and changed the bottom text to Library. Then I added my new library stuff to the center.

Finishing touch was to add the school shield to the sail of the boat and tweak the blue color to be more of the correct color for the school (even though we do not have a set Pantone blue which would be a big help...).

Well the librarian loved the logo and we are still working on a few ideas for the bookmarks themselves, but this was a pretty fun little tangent for my brain to take.

Note: The first and third are using stock images from Shutterstock along with my new logo. The middle has a quote from my favorite book on it, get it on Audible if you love yourself.

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time to complete: 4-6 hours

February 6, 2017

Mr. Fox

Been a while since I've made presents for a new baby. Some friends from college recently announced their first son! We always knew we would call it a Ringlet as a play on their last name. So I was very excited to think about making them something.

Anna, the mom to be, sometimes makes some super cool art and puts it up on her instagram.

So when I saw this Mr. Fox guy, I thought he would make an excellent toy and drew up a sketch. Not too different from the Mr. Skees Bears I made back in 2012.

I think the hardest part was figuring out his football head shape. Fun fact: the technical, geometric term is prolate spheroid, but you can't search that term on Ravelry and get any results. I don't think I got it quite the right shape, but the top does have a nice taper and the overall head was pretty good I thought.
I made this toy with the same Jacques pattern (that I made the Skeesbears and Monkeys from) by Pica Pau, but again with my own head and a few alterations. The head has the same number of stitches in each row, I just moved all the increases out to the sides to get a much more oval shape.

The ears are shortened versions of the ones on Pica Pau's free pig pattern on her blog. The nose is a shorter variation of the one I made for the wolves. I did a little different with the nose this time and just embroidered over the top of my nose which added another dimension to the face which I really like.
ears and nose cone
I thought the head was a bit large compared to how I remember these turing out, but it is hard to tell since I do not have any of the monkeys, wolves or bears I have made at hand here. So I added one row to the shirt and the seat to make it a little longer. I also decided to make his feet in red, instead of black to give it a little more definition between them. I debated trying to make felt eyes like in the painting, but as this is going to a kid I wanted it to be baby friendly and parts that can come off are a no go. So he got 18mm safety eyes.

The arms are the same as the wolves and skeesbears with long sleeves and hands. I made a shorter, narrower version of the wolf tail for the fox. Then made up the tie and vest from the skeesbears. And finally I wanted to add those face whiskers that are in the original inspiration artwork. Those were just three shells on a short foundation row.
Once all the parts were made, it was only about another half an hour of assembly and sewing. I kind of really love the face whiskers and think they really make this guy cute.

Time to complete: 10 hours
Finished size: 11 inches tall
Difficulty: Easy