December 29, 2014

Adult Cabled Beanie

My mom asked me if I would make a hat for a good friend of hers for Christmas. It needed to be made of a nice soft yarn and perhaps a tiny bit tighter than the last time I made it as it stretches a lot. We wanted it to be fun, pretty and a little bit special.

I showed her the Cabled Slouchy beanies that I made for a toddler and the chunky one I made for myself. The adult version by AllAboutAmi is just so cute and intricate looking. She showed me a picture of her friend and I loved the color of the jacket she was wearing in the picture, so I decided to try to find some yarn in a color that I thought would match.

I decided to go with Red Heart's WithLove yarn in Boysenberry. It is an acrylic that I have found to be very, very soft when working it up before, with the added benefit that it is machine wash and dry, just in case. It is also a 4 weight yarn, like the pattern calls for, so I thought it would be perfect.

I made the band 17 inches long, out of 52 rows with a 5.00mm hook. The band stretched to 20/21 inches which is the average head size for adults/teens. I slip stitched the band shut, chained 2, and then worked 54 dc around into the 52 rows (25 dc, increase) knowing that the cable design is worked in sets of 6. This gave me a nice foundation to make 9 cables around the hat.
Having made two hats previously with this same cabled look and pattern, it was a breeze to get into the rhythm and work this up. I finished 6 sets of the cable stitches and then closed it up and added the pom. This way it is just a little slouchy and less heavy on the back. Or you can fold the brim up and have it fit snug like a beanie.

The color I feel is just so darn happy! I got a few nice compliments on the color while working on it... This is a wonderfully warm hat, perfect for Tennessee winters. I had a lot of fun making it and I hope Tammy loves it.

Difficulty: Intermediate, unless you have done it before...
Time to complete: 4 hours

December 22, 2014

Jason Funderburker

This Cartoon Network miniseries came out in late September of 2014. I missed watching it as it aired on TV. I had seen a few little mentions of it on Tumblr, but never had time to track it down. It came back on my radar and I persuaded my husband to watch the first two episodes with me one Friday night after dinner.

You can currently watch it for free on in their video section IF you have a cable subscription that they are partners with and you give it your login and service info. OR, you can do like we did after two episodes and go buy it on iTunes for 9.99. It is 10, 11 minute, episodes long. So, for about the price of a movie ticket you have 120 minutes of entertainment.
We finished the series that night.

The most simple explanation for the plot is that it follows two brothers as they travel through a strange wood and try to find their way home. However, as graduates of a liberal arts college and fairly well read people, we almost had to pause every episode to discuss the references to classic literature, the fairy tale elements, the visual symbolism, the poetry and the music of the episodes. As a PBS youtube video said it brings elements of Brothers Grimm, Dante, Miyazaki and Adventure Time and seamlessly rolls them all together into something truly fantastic.

Once done I started browsing Tumblr to see the fanart and stumbled upon the official Tumblr page for OtGW. There I found a crochet pattern by Stacy Renfroe, one of the production assistants on the show, to make my very own lucky frog, Jason Funderburker! I knew I had to make it. I ran out and got some light green since I had everything else on hand.

As it was the weekend of our annual friend White Elephant Party, I also made up a little case and included an iTunes gift card with enough funds to get the show. I had to share the awesome with friends!

I used With Love yarn in Lettuce for the light green, and I Love this Yarn in Dark Olive for the dark green. I also used 12mm safety eyes, as that is what I had on hand. A little bit of white, a 4.00 mm hook, and my kit of tools rounded out the project needs.

Creating the top of the head is a very interesting technique, you make two little cup shapes and a round center and then link them all up on their outside edges. Then you sew up where the three pieces meet in the center and since I had left tails and joined at the first stitch I could use the tails from the cup shapes to sew up the center openings nicely. The one in the picture is wrong since you are supposed to work the entire pattern in back loops, but I moved on too quickly and forgot to take another picture.
Eye bumps and center of head. Incorrectly done, but you get the idea.
I made two changes to the pattern: the hands and the feet. For the hand part it was a little non-specific on how many fingers to make, so I looked up some pictures and determined that I wanted a thumb and three fingers. After making the arm pieces I left a tail and sewed up the end. That sewn end and tail was attached to the body. I then made a hand piece and sewed it to the closed end of the arm.

Frog Hand
Magic Circle 6 single crochet
Slip stitch into first sc, chain three, turn and sc two down to the start of the chain, secure with a slip stitch in the sc you started from. This makes the thumb.
Single crochet in the next sc to make a space between the thumb and fingers.
Slip stitch into next sc, chain four, turn and sc three back down to the start of the chain, securing it with a slip stitch in the sc you started with to make the first finger. Slip stitch into the next two and repeat to get three total longer fingers.
I then did one sc in the next open sc.
I did two sc in the next open sc.
I did one final sc in the last open sc.
To end, I did a slip stitch into the base of the thumb and bound off my yarn, leaving a tail.

This flat hand piece has two tails, one at the center and one at the end. I used these to sew the fingers/palm onto the end of the arm piece so the fingers stuck out nicely. For the other hand I did the fingers first, then the space, then the thumb, so that the thumbs would both be in and the piece would curl in the right way. You could just follow the pattern twice and sew the second hand on after turning it over, but my crochet tends to have obvious tops and bottoms.

The face bits are kinda weird, but I like the technique to make the lips a lot. It is just a double thick chain folded over, and I sewed the backside up to make it easier to place onto the head and sew down. The eyes I thought about making flat circles, but the popping effect is a bit silly. I did not stuff mine like suggested to minimize the crazy look though.
Face Close Up. No legs yet.
For the feet: I followed the pattern to Round 7, then decided I wanted wider feet like flat triangles. So I did not decrease down again and did a few more rows. If you want mine the pattern is as follows:
Frog feet and toes.
Frog Feet
R1: 6 sc in a magic circle
R2: 6 sc around
R3: *increase, sc in next 2* repeat around (8)
R4-6: 8 sc around
R7: *increase, sc in next 3* repeat around (10)
R8-9: 10 sc around
Bind off leaving a tail. Sew foot closed. I left a tail that was maybe a yard long and used that super long tail to make three distinct bumps on the end of my foot for toes. I then finished the toes by hiding the tail inside the foot, coming back out near the center so that I could use it to sew the foot onto the lower leg. You could skip the toes if you want, but I like them.

Once the arms and legs were done and attached he really looked good. The last piece to make is his back. This frog as a dark back coloring so we make that piece next and then sew it down.

As usual I find sewing all the pieces together to be the most challenging part of any creation. I took extra time trying to get the mouth piece to be as centered as possible and to make sure the back panel was lined up right. Of course it ended up crooked and I think a bit too small for some reason. I stretched it as best I could. Thought about adding dots, but my hubby liked him the way he was.
Back progress.
Done! This frog is about 6 inches wide by 16 inches tall and is a perfect crook-of-your-arm size. It would be a great prop for a Greg cosplay... now to find a teapot and weird pants... and candy.

I am not sure if this frog will remain Jason Funderburker as I feel like I need to come up with my own name for him. Even if you haven't seen the show, I feel like this is great toy for any young kid who likes frogs! And the show is only a PG rating, so if you feel comfortable, let them watch! Then when they get to reading Dante in college they will have all kinds of innate understanding.

Time to complete: 8 hours
Difficulty: Intermediate

December 15, 2014

Toddler Winter Wear

Got another commission from a friend who wanted a hat and scarf set for her toddler. Apparently stuff in stores isn't really fitting. She was looking for gloves as well, but crochet does not seem to be able to deal with making fingers that small as I found plenty of fingerless options and mittens.

I decided to make this Toddler Cabled Slouchy Beanie by AllAboutAmi. I've been thinking about making an adult one for myself after the chunky one was so fun to make, so I had my eye on the pattern for a while. Calls for a 4.00 mm G hook** and Lion Brand Heartland Yarn. I decided to go with one of the Tweed colorways called Mount Rainier Tweed which is a light gray with flecks of other colors. The extra colors made it bit more whimsical for a kid, I thought, and might match with a lot more outfits.
made this much progress at school
I started working on this at my husband's school where he teaches. I got the band done in about 40 minutes and then got a little over two of the cable sets done while watching the school's girl varsity soccer game. So I would say I got about 1/3 through the project in about 3 hours. Since there are more cables than the chunky beanie, and since the hook and yarn is much smaller, I knew it would take longer.
Hat ready for pom pom made with the wooden fork.
I managed to finish the hat and add the pom the next day in about 5 more hours. For such a detailed looking hat, I am very happy with that amount of time. I do think it came out pretty cute, but still doubt my color choice a little bit.
Note**: You might remember, from my old post, that we learned that G hooks have changed thickness, from old hooks with 4.25mm to new hooks with 4.00mm. I bought a new one in 4.00 for the Autumn Diamond Gloves, but never used it since I had started with a 4.25mm on that project and didn't want to switch hook thicknesses. Glad I got to use the new one for this pattern!

Time to complete the hat: 8 hours
Difficulty: Intermediate

Next Up: I thought I might try to make a cabled scarf to match. I came up with the pattern below. It has a raised edging row and a center cable and is done over 14 stitches to keep it thinner for smaller bodies.

Cabled Toddle Scarf: Using a 5mm hook and same yarn. Chain 2 for turn counts as dc!
Chain 16, turn and dc in second chain from hook, 14 dc across.
 *optional second start: Or do 14 foundation chain dc, chain 2 and turn.
Row 1 (right side): 2dc, 1 fpdc, 2dc, skip next 2 dc, 2 fptc in next 2 dc, go back and do 2 fptc in ones you skipped, 2dc, 1 fpdc, 2dc, chain 2, turn
Row 2 (wrong side): 2dc, 1 bpdc, 2dc, 4 bpdc, 2dc, 1 bpdc, 2dc, chain 2, turn
Row 3 (right side): 2dc, 1 fpdc, 2dc, 4 fpdc, 2dc, 1 fpdc, 2 dc, chain 2, turn
Row 4 (wrong side): 2dc, 1 bpdc, 2 dc, 4 bpdc, 2dc, 1 bpdc, 2dc, chain 2, turn
Repeat Rows 1-4 till reaching desired length or about 40 inches.
Rows 1-5 of my cabled scarf.
I got through the first 5 rows and although I liked the pattern and the design it made, I decided that the flecking and color made it all but impossible to see the cable or edging detail. Since it was a lot of work to do it, I decided to rip it out and go with a more standard stitch. But I have a feeling I will work this pattern again at some point!

I decided to try out the Ribbed Picot Stitch scarf by Delia I found on Ravelry. I shared a picture with the client and she liked it. I liked the picot edging detail and the keyhole to help keep it on an active kid. I've seen this toddler in action and she loves to climb and run, so perhaps this will be a good feature. Not sure if it really matches the hat in style, but it certainly is cute and fun.

I started off as suggested with chaining 91... It came out pretty short, even for a tiny person. Then I realized I was still using my 5.00mm hook, not the 5.5mm as suggested. Perhaps that bit of extra would help, so I started over. Still think it is a bit short but it is for a short person.

This scarf too less than half a skein. I can see how it could easily be adapted for larger people. It took maybe 2 hours to do. Maybe. I do like how it came out and since it is a shorter scarf I can see it easily being tucked in a coat and certainly never trailing on the ground collecting dirt. I hope they both work out!

Time to complete the scarf: Maybe 2 hours, but I bet it is a little less.
Difficulty: Easy

Finished Pieces! 

December 8, 2014

Senketsu Beanie

Some days you get an idea and have to make it. Right then.

A good friend's birthday party was coming up... well to be frank, it was the next day. And there I was sitting on the couch wondering if I shouldn't bring a gift. I started thinking about anime, which is an interest we have in common. Then I thought, huh, do any anime characters wear scarves... could have sworn there was one... Natsu's from Fairy Tail, came to mind, but I wasn't sure if he liked that show.

Instead I thought, well I know he liked Kill la Kill. What if... ha! Ok so, if you know that anime, in it there are clothes that are alive cause of some magic life fibers. Well it might be cool to make a scarf with the eyes of the main clothing sidekick, Senketsu! So I ran out to my stash with an image in my head and set about finding the colors to make it.

First thing was to even see if I could make something that looked like his good eye. I kind of just cobbled together the right shape, layering the colors and outlining it. Came up with something I was happy with. With a little stretching, I thought I could sew it down to a basic black scarf with no problems and get a shape I was happy with.

Next was the boring part, making the base scarf to put under the design. I knew it had to be black. And I decided I wanted it to have a red stripe on the other end of the scarf from the face. So I did a simple chain 31, turn and sc 30 across. It made a really thick scarf and after about 3 hours of working I didn't have much to show for it. Plus being so thick it would be odd to wear right.

Instead I decided a beanie might be a better option, it had the nice width to have the eyes on and would certainly be something more user friendly. I went with a normal double crochet hat, widended out to 69 stitches using a 5.00mm hook and Red Heart super saver yarn. I added a brim at the bottom and am pretty happy with how it came out.

Now came the time to sew the eye on. I positioned it just above the band and tacked it down. For the damaged eye, I used a surface slip stitch technique to get the lines on.

I really like how it came out. I hope that it goes over well.

Time to complete: 6 hours

December 1, 2014


Made a quick pair of hats for a friend. She wanted a bit of a silly hat, with cat ears, and then again a normal hat for more every day wear. She gave me the colors she wanted and the requirement that they had to cover the ears.

First up, a Gray Hat :
Looked through my stash and found a very nice gray, that could go with gray or black winter wear. Got a dusty pink to give it a flower embellishment. Looked around for a pattern that would be both warm and pretty. Decided to give this pattern for a Shell Stitch Beanie by Elise Engh of Grow Creative a try. I really like the look of it, and since the shell was only used on a few rows and not the whole thing, I figured it would still be pretty warm, while looking nice.

I used a Red Heart soft yarn in gray and a 5.00 mm hook. It took me about 1.5 hours to make the hat itself and another 30 min to make the flower in the pink color to contrast. I tried it on me and only made one small change, which was to add a row 16 to the brim of dc around to make sure it covered the ears as requested.

Gray/Pink Hat done!
Difficulty: Easy
Time to compete: 2 hours

Second is the Cat Ear Hat :
Purple is her favorite color, so it was the go-to color for the sillier hat. I pulled out Bernat Satin in dark purple for the beanie and ears, and a light purple of the same yarn to do the inside of the ears with.

I started with a classic half double crochet hat, and used the Adult size small pattern from Oombawka Designs. I had maybe 3/4ths of the skein of dark purple, having used some of it for flowers in a scarf before, so I needed to keep it simple so I would have enough. I got maybe 15 rows (and 3 hours) in and realized that this hat was super large on me... this being for a petite person, I knew it would not fit. I ripped it out and started again.

This time I tried the Cat Hat pattern by Ramen Needles. I followed her hat pattern to the letter until row 7. I tried making as written, increasing to 72 stitches, but once again I felt it was too large on. It must be the yarn being so flexible. Anyway, on row 7 I instead did 9 sc and one increase around to give me 66 stitches. That felt much better on my head. Once it was to the top of my hear I did 6 rows of the brim front post and back post, so that it covered the entire ear. It came out pretty cute! For the ears, I still worked in the round and followed her pattern, but I switched back and forth between colors on one side to get the inside / outside look to them. Sewed em on and done!
This hat took longer because this yarn, soft as it may be, tends to come unraveled very easily while working. That meant I needed to redo a lot of stitches as I went along if one strand got tangled or skipped or pulled through too many loops.

Difficulty: Easy
Time to complete: 6 hours

Bonus: Got a new iPhone so the pictures should be a bit nicer from here on out. Also, played with the time lapse while making the flower embellishment for the gray hat. Obviously I need a tripod and a better angle if I am going to keep doing this, but thought it might be cool. Thoughts?

November 24, 2014

Purple Cabled Hat

So I have this lovely purple puffy vest. It is perfect for Texas winter, which tends to be chilly, but not too cold for most of the season. So a long sleeve shirt, this vest and jeans is a great go-to outfit for comfort and just enough warmth. I don't really have a hat to match it though, and I often want a hat since I have short hair.

Enter the Chunky Cabled Slouchy Beanie by AllAboutAmi. I love this blog and follow it religiously, but I have not, until now!, made anything. Wanting to change that, I thought this hat would look lovely in a purple color to match my vest.

I had a coupon for Jo-ann's and they did not carry the Loops and Threads brand, so I instead used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick in Eggplant. It is the same weight, a super bulky size 6, so I figured it would be just as good. After working with this same yarn in black for the Toboggan Hat I new it would be comfy!

Since I like a slouchy hat I stuck with the 10mm hook. I think my head must be larger than hers, since I ended up adding two more rows to the band (32) to make sure it wasn't too tight on me. I seamed up the band with slip stitches.

Since I did not bind off I could work straight into the hat. Working 30 dc into those 32 rows was odd. So instead of going down to 30dc, I went up to 36 dc and added another cable. I did 7 sc and then an increase around to get the 36 dc.

For the cabling, is really is very helpful if you take a look at her step by step pictures from her previous post on cabling with crochet. It is also super important to realize that in the first row where the stitches criss cross that you are doing front post TREBLE crochets... I made this hat twice and had to start over because I was doing those crossed with double crochets and it made it way too tight. Don't make my mistake! Also, even though rows 3 and 4 are written the same way, they are not performed the same way, which is majorly important to keeping the look of the cables.
Just before closing it up.
I stopped one row before she did, to make it a tiny bit lighter since I did want to add the pom. To close it up, I simply left a long tail and went in and out of the last row of the two back post stitches. That left the top looking a bit like a 6 petaled flower. Yes, there were 6 open holes there, but it was so tight, that it looked fine. Plus with the addition of the giant pom it wasn't an issue.

I have only ever made a pom out of baby yarn before and I used the fork method. With such bulky yarn I used the same tutorial, but with a cut in half paper towel roll. I do see what she means about it being a top heavy hat, but I like to wear it pulled down over my ears, and don't have too much of a problem.

Difficulty: Intermediate, easy if you know how to front and back post crochet
Time to complete: 5 hours

Update: Here is a picture of it on me with the jacket I mentioned. You might notice I have the brim folded up, since it does stretch a lot. That helps to keep it on my head more firmly.

Update 2: Made a second one following the pattern more closely for a friend. Turned out great and was able to make in with just one skein and a tiny bit leftover from the last one.

November 17, 2014

Toboggan Hat

You might remember that I made a stunningly manly viking hat for my husband. I think he looks very dashing in it...
Photo by Angie Vo
However, he asked that I perhaps make him another without the horns that he might wear more often when it is cold. I guess that is understandable. So rather than just make the same pattern again I decided to try Lion Brand's Toboggan hat. It is a free pattern if you have an account, as you might already know.

I went out and bought a skein of their Wool-Ease Thick and Quick in Black and a shiny new 10.00
mm hook, as I did not own one. A about three hours later I had a new hat for him!

This is a truly great beginner project as it introduces you very nicely to chains, working in the round, increasing, and the single crochet stitch. Plus the large hook makes it very easy to see your work, which is something that I found very helpful when I first started to crochet.

The alternation of the direction of the rows makes for an interesting thick row look.

I did slightly modify the pattern, so I will share how...
Instead of earflaps as written on the pattern, I made it a little bit longer in the head. I kept going repeating the sc around rows until the hat was about 8.5 inches long from the crown to the bottom, rather than 8. Then in the next row where you only do 24 sc around and then turn, I just kept repeating that row of 24 along the back side, for 4 rows total. That way my hat would cover both the ears and the nape of the neck, as with the other pattern I had made.

I also left off the pom at the top as he thought it a bit silly. This hat is warm, thick and a classic.
Grab a skein next time it is on sale and be sure to make one!

Time to complete: 3 hours
Difficulty: Beginner

November 10, 2014

Autumn Diamonds Gloves

Found this pattern for Autumn Diamonds gloves when looking around Ravelry for half finger glove patterns. I filed it away for later use because the only drawback to crochet, is that it is not knit. There are just so many darn cool patterns for knit and some of the most intricate and coolest, I think, are Fair Isle patterns. So when I saw someone actually make something close in crochet, I HAD to try it out.

I got a coupon in the mail for yarn, went to Joann's, and found something suitable. It calls for a 3 weight yarn and I went with Patons Silk Bamboo in Sapphire, Stone and Ivory. These are 50g skeins and it should have been enough to do both gloves in the pattern as called for, but you in fact need more like 100g of the "base" color you want to use. It is slick and shiny and I thought it would feel lovely on. Obviously, I have chosen different colors than the pattern... One thing to note, the pattern calls for a 4mm hook, but I used a G marked 4.25mm**. That I thought would help keep my stitches looser to be able to work into.
Paton's Silk Bamboo
I had to slightly rework her chart colors to make sure I knew what I was doing. It was a pretty simple matter in Numbers (Mac excel) after I changed the grid size around. And it gave me an idea of how they might turn out looking. I decided to do the blue as the base and have the pattern in the ivory and stone.

This pattern, right off the bat, gave me a lot of trouble and I couldn't get two rows in without having to rip it out. The start is a chain and sc (she used the term "UK dc" which is the same as a US sc) into it like a lot of patterns. It is worked in the round as well. The knit look of these gloves comes from something called the Waistcoat Stitch.

Now perhaps it is the yarn I am using, but I could not find the spot on the post of the single crochets to work into. You have to work into the v of the post to make the waistcoat stitch. I watched several videos and studied all her pictures and just couldn't find it on my work. Perhaps I work too tightly too. Or my G hook has too big of a return and not a pointy enough head...

I started over the fourth time and decided to take a nod from my crazy gloves and start with a foundation row single crochet, rather than chaining and working into it. It certainly made my first row look much nicer and neater. When joining this foundation row you need to use your tail to close that first chained edge to get the circle nice and neat. After the foundation sc row, I did another row all the way around of sc, joining with a slip stitch and chaining one at the end. This way I had a clean row of sc to try to work the waistcoat stitch into.

This time it was a bit easier to see the v of the post, but it was still a gigantic pain to get the hook in, let alone pull up a loop. It was super slow going. I got through the first full design with little trouble, but switching colors every three stitches made the work even slower.

Still, I had no idea how tough it would be until I got into the rows of the diamond design. By the first rows of white I had a lot of trouble making sure I was switching colors on the right stitches. I printed out my sheet to try to make sure I was doing it right. It is tricky since only a few of the rows in the diamond pattern are repeating color change wise.

After I did the first full set of three white rows, I decided to simplify the pattern immensely.

I really like the scaled down version. It seems cleaner, and I love that the negative space of the blue looks like hearts. Obviously I am now worried that by removing so much of the secondary stone color that I will run out of blue yarn.

The fabric you create with this stitch is so thick and stiff, it is kind of amazing. there are virtually no holes or spaces as in most crochet fabrics. I was also worried that carrying the yarn along the inside would make it tough to put on and wear, but you change color so frequently that is it tightly controlled. And the places where you don't change color gets bound up inside the next row of stitches.
35 rows in on the left, right is what the inside looks like
At this point I had competed row 35 and now had to start working on the thumb gusset , while maintaining the pattern and switching into rows of stone color accents. For the thumb area, you are adding a stitch at the beginning and end of each row. This meant that at the full width of the thumb, I had 14+9+8 stitches of blue in a row. I decided then for those rows to cut the gray at the end of each row in order to have that thumb gusset as tangle free as possible.

Pattern wraps all the way around. :)
A single glove took me almost two months of working. I stopped and rested a lot since it is really tough on your hands if you don't have a sharp topped hook. And sometime it took a full minute to get the hook into the right place. I'm easily guessing 30 hours for one single glove.

At the time of posting this, I actually only have one glove made. I plan to make the second glove in the reverse accent colors, blue base but where there is stone(gray), use ivory(white) and vice versa. And I did run out of blue though making this single glove, so I will have to get another skein of the Sapphire to complete the pair.

Unfortunately, after all this work, the glove does not fit. Sure I managed to get it on, but it is like a contortioner's trick to fold my hand in on it self and pull it on over my thumb. This yarn and stitch has no stretch or give to it whatsoever. So I kind of have no motivation to make the second to match... unless I can find someone it fits on, who wants it, and is willing to pay for them.
Fits like a ... vice.
I have another set of three yarns, that I wanted to make a second set in as a gift. However, with such a tough pattern, I might not. But now that I have a grid to work from, I could make these with just about any design I could think of. Pretty cool.

If I ever sell these, they would totally fall at the more expensive end of the price spectrum.

Difficulty: Hard
Time to complete a pair: about 60 hours

**Note on G Hooks: Fun Fact: I found out while working on this pattern that old G hooks, like the ones I got from a garage sale, are 4.25mm, while new ones that you get in the store today are 4.00mm. So please do check your hook and just make sure you make both gloves with the same size. I can't find a reason for the size change, maybe manufacturers just wanted to keep it uniform in the size increases, but now you know. :)

November 3, 2014

Gloves: Round Two

So those Crazy Gloves are pretty cute, but they are also pretty tight.

With that in mind the next time I had a friend over, who is pretty petite, I asked her to try them on. She also found them to be very tight on. So I guess it isn't just me. She also asked for a pair of her own and having a few skeins of sock yarn on hand I was able to start on a pair the next day... with a few changes...

The yarn used is a Paton's Kroy sock yarn. It is self striping and is called "Brown Striped Ragg". Pretty sure it is discontinued since it was in clearance and is not on their website.

I decided to go with an even larger hook on the pattern than suggested. For a small/medium you used a D hook, large use an E hook... I used an F hook (3.75mm) for this new "extra-large." It has made the stitches a bit farther apart, but gives it some much needed stretch.

Finished gloves. Love the solid fingers.
There really is not a visible difference in the size between my crazy ones and these, but I can tell that the increased hook size made a big difference in how it fits. These gloves are still pretty annoying to take off, though. I hypothesize that the thinness of the yarn and the shortness of the fingers is the reason. But I had her try them on and they do indeed fit much better on her as well.

Perhaps the next next time I do these I will use a 2 weight yarn, as opposed to sock (a 1 weight) yarn, with the F hook to keep the gaps smaller.

Difficulty: Still pretty easy once mastering the two unique stitches.
Time to complete: 8 hours, cause I was lazy about it.

October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014

A bit late I know, but I wanted to share my costumes for this year!

Obviously it isn't super on model but I think it gets the idea across well and is recognizable! I wore this Halloween day to Chipolte to get my $3 burrito and to the school football game. Turned out this coat is not warm and we had some of the first cold weather in Texas that night.

With my blue hair, a little makeup with added freckles, and a few pieces of clothes I think the transformation was pretty good. I will have to keep an eye out for yellow rainboots and a stone with a hole in it, though.

Yellow Rainjacket from L.L. Bean
Navy Camisole and Navy and White Stars sweater from Old Navy (from 4th of july season)
Dark wash Jeans from Target
Polka dot Rainboots from Target
Dragonfly hairclip made by me from felt, hot glue and a clip
A Little Me made by a good friend (made to really resemble real life me)
Crazy Gloves made by me

My Little Me did not have a raincoat, so I made one for her in about an hour and a half.
Two tiny sleeves, a body and a hood, sewed together, made for one cute tiny coat.

So there you go! A little money, a little work and a little wardrobe plundering equals a pretty good costume!

Oh and here's a pic of the pup! She's a skele-dog this year. It glows in the dark too. Got it last year on clearance at wal-mart for like $2. :)
So spoopy.
Saturday, the 1st we had a belated party because I really do like to have a Halloween bash. We have a great fire pit in the yarn and the cooler temps made it a really pleasant time. Since my Coraline outfit was dirty, I decided to throw together a second costume for the party.

I know most of you will not have seen the anime, Chobits, but it has robot girls called Persocoms. They have these big robot ears and are often dressed up. So I threw on my ears that I made, several years ago, from two pieces of craft foam. I used a clear bra strap and some bobby pins to keep them on my head and added a large flower to keep the strap hidden and add to the dressed up feel.

I went a little heavier on the make up than I normally do. I had shades of purple, blue and gray eyeshadow on and managed to line my whole eye. I also used a blue soft eyeshadow pencil to color my brows blue! A little pink lipstick completed the look.

I collect kimonos and this one is a purple pattern with cranes. It is a lighter one made of washable cotton (important since I was sitting around a fire all night). I had a yellow accent wrap and my bright green patterned obi to complete the look. It was really fun to do this look. Perhaps I will wear this out to an anime convention sometime... anyway.

Hope you all had a Happy Halloween.

October 27, 2014

Aviator Hat

A good friend is planning family costumes for Halloween and asked for an "Amelia Earhart" style hat and goggles. I already had a great looking, free pattern on hand for an Aviator Hat by Repeat Crafer Me. I also already had all the colors I would need on hand. So we decided to make a child's size so her daughter could use it for the foreseeable future.

finished hat!
This pattern was quick and easy. I had no trouble making the hat, adding the earflaps and edging it in a chunky ivory (think it is Homespun). The hat itself took about 3 hours to finish.

The goggles took another hour to make and one more to sew it on and add the strap. For the eye rings and the strap you use something called the surface slip stitch. This is a truly great way to add lines and shapes to crochet! I am so happy to have this skill now, as I look back on a lot of projects that this would have helped with.

I kind of feel like my child's size came out a little too large, since it fits my head comfortably, but I used the same type of yarn and hook as recommended. So maybe kids are tiny adults... I guess it is ok since it will now fit her forever!

Overall this is a stellar pattern that could be modified to be just about any kind of hat. Perfect for stash busing too, as I used a brown that I had less than half a skein of and still had some leftover.

Time to complete: 5 hours
Difficulty: Super easy

UPDATE: Check out the adorable picture taken by her mom, Christine Coleman!

Update 2: Check out this cute picture that I took, used with permission:

October 20, 2014

Twisted Yarns

Went to visit my siblings in Houston for an evening dinner, but on the way back I stopped in at a small yarn store in Old Town Spring about 30 minutes north of Houston proper. I went with the idea of perhaps finding a good quality, not too expensive, dk weight yarn, but when you need almost 2,000 yards of something it is pretty much impossible to find in a store.

Twisted Yarns was pretty cool all around. They had a small table for groups and looks like they have classes and meet ups. While I was there a lady came in and had one of the workers help her figure out a pattern she was in the middle of working on, which just seemed so helpful. They also can order anything you find online for you in bulk and ship it, which I might just have to do for the project I have in mind.
I was standing near clearance (far left side) and Noro yarns (far right side).
The staff was really knowledgeable and helpful. This being the third yarn store I have been to, I can't help compare it to the two others now I have visited. (Hill Country and Madtosh Crafts) It is smaller than both other stores, but seems to have the same amount, if not a little more, yarn than Madtosh. They carried a lot of the specialty hand dyed brands like Noro and Koigu, but also some more reasonably priced brands like Berroco.
They had a winder out for everyone to use. Here we see tons of sock yarns.
They also have a cool loyalty program where you get $20 off once you have spent a $200, which is pretty easy to do. That is the kind of thing that will ensure I stop by every time I go down and back to Houston. They also give you a cute tiny measuring tape, which is a nice touch.
The white desk in the center is the check out by the door, beyond that is the table area. Great selection of hooks!
Since they didn't have anything I wanted to use for the big project, I looked around for stuff for smaller projects. Found a manly gray for some gloves for a friend. Also found some really nice sport weight yarns. I got three colors with the thought that I would use them for gloves, perhaps for presents at some point. All the yarn is by Cascade Yarns, which I did not realize till I got home. The three brown, white and tan are 220 Superwash Sport and the gray is Heritage sock yarn. Even though they were in different sections, I guess I know what I like.
My purchases came out to about $32.00. Not bad!
Overall, this was a friendly, great little store and I will be back when I pass through.

October 13, 2014

Santa Fe Winter Goodies

New commission promt: Hat and Scarf for sister at an art school in Santa Fe

There is no part of this prompt that I am not loving. As an art history major and someone who adores the city of Santa Fe I was all about this. After a little more discussing I looked through my pattern collection and decided upon a hat and scarf that I think would be perfect. The client agreed and off we went!

The hat I am basing on this amazing Rainbow Beanie. I don't have all those exact colors on hand but figured that what I did have would be close and still come out bright and colorful. I say "base off" because after reading through what she did, I needed to make some changes for my own sanity and clarity. For the scarf I decided it would look lovely if I made this Lion Brand Flower Blossom Scarf in the same colors palette as the hat.

After looking through my stash and comparing to the beanie color pallet I ended up with this selection of yarns. They are all worsted weight and about the same thickness and feel. I used a 5.00mm H hook and started on the hat.

As the beanie is based off a granny square type pattern, I figured it would not be hard to do myself. A few other changes from the inspiration beanie is that I did not make earflaps, and I made it a little longer to cover at least the top part of the ears. I tried it on after a few extra rounds at the bottom before the edging to make sure it would fit right for an adult.

Once again, I find that crochet is a learning experience. After getting 9 rounds into the hat, I realized it was pretty loose on me. Meaning it would certainly be on anyone else. So I had to rip the whole thing out and start over with a smaller hook.
Scrapped at this point. Too wonky. Too large.
I switched to a 4.25mm G hook. I also took the opportunity to raid my local Joann's, take advantage of their sale, and get new yarn. Mainly because several of the original yarns I picked are what I now consider to be "crap yarn". Pardon my french. But a regular Red Heart Super Saver yarn just feels awful to my hands after working on such nicer yarns more recently. Too scratchy... I wouldn't want it on my neck no matter how cute the scarf turned out.

New color palette (new yarns are Bernat Satin since I had a few colors in that already on hand):
Similar yarns means a nicer finished product. There is a dark gray after that light gray too...

Granny Rainbow Beanie (4.25mm G hook)
Note: Throughout I will be referring to three dc in a row as a double crochet cluster (dcc) to keep reading this from being a nightmare. A (vdcc) is two sets of three dc separated by a chain. It is used to increase each round until reaching the desired size. Don't forget to change colors at the end of every round! And to be clear: every single cluster has a chain between it.

R1. (yellow) MC, Chain 3, 2dc into loop, make 4 dcc and secure with slip stitch to first. Change color. (5 dcc)
R2. (orange) Chain 3, 2dc in same space, chain 1, dcc in same space as first, *ch1, vdcc*, join last to first at second dc of first dcc on each round going forward. Change color! (10 dcc)

R3. (Red) Chain 3 in first opening, 2dc in same space, ch, dcc in same space forming a vdcc, *ch, dcc, ch vdcc* (15 dcc)
R4. (pink) Chain 3 in first opening, 2dc in same space, ch, dcc in next space, ch, vdcc, *ch, dcc, ch, dcc, ch, vdcc* (20 dcc) (each side has 2dcc, one vdcc)

R5. (purple) Chain 3 in first opening, 2dc in same space, *ch, dcc, ch, dcc, ch, dcc, ch, vdcc* (25 dcc) (each side has 3dcc and one vdcc repeated around)
R6-13. Chain 3 in first opening, 2dc in same space, *dcc* around  (25 dcc) changing color at the end of each round. Note: at this point omit the chains between each set to have a tighter fit, or keep them in for a slightly larger size. (light blue, dark blue, light green, dark green, khaki, light gray, dark gray, yellow again)
R14 -19. Chain 1 and sc around to make an edge. Change colors as you like, or not at all. (I did two of orange, red, pink) (74 or so stitches around)
Hat for the order.

While making the hat, I made a second one at the same time to send off as a gift for another colorful person in my life. So her hat got a different brim since I wanted more colors!!! The last rows are one each of orange, red, pink, purple, blue, dark blue, light green and a hdc row of dark green to give it some finality.
Second hat for a friend.

On to the Lion Brand Flower Blossom Scarf ... or rather... not at all.
After reading through this pattern I saw that they wanted you to double up the yarn and use a giant 13mm hook. I didn't feel like buying a new hook, and more importantly, balling up all my yarn colors into two balls so I could carry two strands. That would take forever by hand.

So instead it became my inspiration piece and I found a flat flower pattern that I could use my normal yarn, one strand and the same G hook on. I just did an image search and really liked the look of this simple Maybelle crochet flower pattern.

I made my first flower with an orange center and yellow outside rows, but decided it was a bit normal. So I made a second in three colors. One color for the first row, a second for rows 2-3, and a third for the 4th final row. With three colors it looked a lot closer in nature to the every row color change of the hat and felt much more in keeping.

Each flower takes about 25 minutes to make. I used the order of the colors in the hat to determine the sets of three colors from which to make into flowers. That way I knew that I would use them all at least once. With 12 colors in the hat, I got 12 flower made. The blossom scarf needed 16 of the motifs, so I added two extra colors (dark orange and light purple) so that I could make up 4 more with other color combinations. Each flower is unique in color and order. (About 7 hours to make all flowers and join)

I joined each flower as I went along, using the center stitch of each petal (last row) to join to the one before it. There are a lot of methods but basically before the 4th double crochet I slipped the middle stitch of the previous flower onto my hook and completed the 4th double crochet of the new flower around it. I did this for two petals on each flower to have a sturdy join between each.
Hat and Flower Scarf
Once they were all joined I noticed they started curling in when worn. So my husband suggested I made a backing for them and sew em down to it. Not an awful idea that. So I made a quick rectangle scarf to be a backer. Took about 5 hours to make the backer part.

Ribbed DC Scarf (needed about a skein and a half of brown)
Chain 15 plus 2 to turn.
Double crochet 15 across.
Chain 2, double crochet across in back loops only.
Repeat till reaching the length desired. The back loop double crochet give the scarf a little texture.

I then used a sc to finish the edges and attach two stitches from the side petals of the flowers. I left a long tail to sew down the center of each flower a bit. Once I started attaching them I go to the end and realized that I had space left on my scarf, and I started at the wrong end to rip some rows out. So I made up an 17th flower and added it to the leftover space. It was just enough to not make it look strange.
One more flower.
The finished size of the scarf was 78 inches long and 4 inches wide.
I also added another two rows of brown to the brim of the hat to tie it together.
Scarf (so you can see the texture) and finished hat with brown row added.
Made the scarf really nice, warm, and thick. Which is good, because as my husband also pointed out the scarf of flowers only had a lot of holes in it which isn't really warm. Together they are super happy. Perfect for snowy days or with a light jacket. So glad I got to make these.
Better pic of the finished scarf.
Total time: 25 hours total - 10 for the hat with restarting and making two at the same time, 15 hours for the scarf
Difficulty: Easy