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?