March 30, 2015

Baby Teddy

I was shown a cute picture of a newborn and a teddy bear by a friend who is a photographer. I could only assume that she wanted one as a prop for her most recent arrival. Since we couldn't find an actual pattern for the one in the picture, that I liked anyway, I decided to make one up to match the basic look.

Items needed:
Cream yarn, I used a leftover skein of Caron Simply Soft in Bone from my crocodile stitch cardigan
12mm safety eyes, and a safety nose if you have one
5mm hook

Baby Teddy:
Light tan color yarn
5mm H8 hook
12mm safety eyes
one safety nose or embroider it with black
needles, stitch marker

Head: crown to neck
Rnd 1 – Start 6sc into magic ring
Rnd 2 – 2sc in each st [12]
Rnd 3 –  (sc, inc) repeat around [18]
Rnd 4 – sc around [18]
Rnd 5 – (2sc, inc) repeat around [24]
Rnd 6 – (3sc, inc) repeat around [30]
Rnd 7 – (4sc, inc) repeat around [36]
Rnd 8 – sc around [36]
Rnd 9 – (5sc, inc) repeat around [42]
Rnd 10-14 – sc around [42]
Rnd 15 – (5sc, dec) repeat around [36]
Rnd 16 – (4sc, dec) repeat around [30]
Rnd 17 – (3sc, dec) repeat around [24]
Rnd 18 – (2sc, dec) repeat around [18]
Fasten off

Ears: make 2
Rnd 1 – Start 6sc into magic ring
Rnd 2 – 2sc in each st [12]
Rnd 3-6 -sc around 12
fold in half, sew up bottom, affix to head

Snout: nose to base
Rnd 1 – Start 6sc into magic ring
Rnd 2 – 2sc in each st [12]
Rnd 3 - sc around [12]
Rnd 4 –  (sc, inc) repeat around [18]
Rnd 5-6 - sc around
fasten off, stuff and sew to front of face.

Head assembly. Create head base, ears and snout. Place safety eyes and stuff head. pin snout into place to evaluate eye placement. If happy secure eyes in place and finish stuffing. Attach safety nose to snout if using it, otherwise stuff and sew to face where pinned. Attach ears to head. Embroider a nose if needed.

Body: butt to neck
Rnd 1 – Start 6sc into magic ring
Rnd 2 – 2sc in each st [12]
Rnd 3 – (sc, inc) repeat around [18]
Rnd 4 – (2sc, inc) repeat around [24]
Rnd 5 – (3sc, inc) repeat around [30]
Rnd 6 – (4sc, inc) repeat around [36]
Rnd 7 - sc around [36]
Rnd 8 – (5sc, inc) repeat around [42] 
Rnd 9-12 – sc around [42]
Rnd 13 – (5sc, dec) repeat around [36]
Rnd 14-15 – (sc around [36]
Rnd 16 – (4sc, dec) repeat around [30]
Rnd 17-18 – sc around [30]
Rnd 19 – (3sc, dec) repeat around [24]
Rnd 20-21 – sc around [24]
Rnd 22 – (2sc, dec) repeat around [18]
End 23 - sc around
Fasten off and leave a tail to sew to neck of head. Stuff

Arms:  make 2
Rnd 1 – Start 6sc into magic ring
Rnd 2 – 2sc in each st [12]
Rnd 3 –  (sc, inc) repeat around [18] 
Rnd 4 - sc around [18]
Rnd 5 - (sc, dec) around [12]
Rnd 6-9 sc around 12 -Stuff here
Rnd 10- (sc, dec) around [8]
Rnd 11- sc around
Fasten off leaving tail to sew to body. 

Legs: make 2
Rnd 1 – Start 6sc into magic ring
Rnd 2 – 2sc in each st [12]
Rnd 3 –  (sc, inc) repeat around [18] 
Rnd 4-7 - sc around [18]
Rnd 8 - (sc, dec) around [12]
Rnd 9-11 sc around 12 -Stuff here
Rnd 12- (4 sc, dec) around [10]
Rnd 13- sc around
Fasten off leaving tail to sew to body. 

Rnd 1 – Start 6sc into magic ring
Rnd 2 - 6 sc around
Rnd 3 – 2sc in each st [12]
Rnd 4 - sc around 12
Rnd 5 - dec around
Fasten off, add tiny bit of stuffing
Finishing: Stuff body and attached to completed head. Sew arms and legs into place. Sew on tail. 

This basic pattern could be embellished in a lot of ways. I for one, thought about adding a popcorn stitch thumb shape to the paws, embroidering a belly button or mouth, and adding blush spots. He's really perfect and classic in all ways though, so in this case simple is best.

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time to complete: 8 hours

March 23, 2015

2015 Fiber Fest

I've reviewed all the yarn shops I've been to, but if you are keeping track, that is only three. With the lack of choices of places to shop an event like Fiber Fest is great opportunity to spend some money and see what is really out there.

I went with my family on Saturday to the Irving Convention Center and for a mere $5 you can get into the vendor hall. I guess from the few other conventions I have attended (A-kon and Gencon) I expected it to be a larger affair. After spending the better part of the day there, I was amazed at the amount of yarn, crafts, and people in there.
This is the full vendor hall. A good size and PACKED with yarn.
As a crochet person, I did feel a tiny bit left out. Most vendors carried knitting items, had knitting patterns and knitted samples. Clearly I am missing out. I did manage to find the no.10 crochet hook I wanted though and I did see a one or two crochet samples worked up, but saw no patterns at all. Thank goodness that yarn is universal.

I was also absolutely amazed at the amount of booths selling raw fiber and spinning items. That is a whole realm of yarn crafting that I cannot even fathom getting into. Especially not when there is no lack of amazingly cool yarns ready for purchase.
Yarn, as far as the eye can see.
I wanted to mention that Cascade Yarns, whom I love for their very reasonable prices and great quality, had a booth and were helpful in choosing the best yarn from their array for a few projects I might like to tackle in the future. They are on the far right in that picture above.

Speaking of which, I wanted to share a few vendors in particular that I really liked.

Tumbleweed Yarn, I was drawn to mostly because of the names of the yarns at first, which are all Texas towns, so I had to take a closer look at Marfa. Once I was in the booth, I really started to appreciate the colorways she had. I was looking for a sport weight yarn, which nearly no one had, but I took her card to keep an eye on as she mentioned they might be working on some in the future.

Miss Babs was probably one of the largest booths in the hall. Not only that, it was packed with a ton of yarn. They also had giant skeins of yarn for really excellent prices, talking 560 yards for $38! This booth was also one of the few to have sport weight yarns in it. These also came in giant skeins of 700 yards for $44, but as I needed four of the same colorway for the project I had in mind, I did not leave with any. I am going to keep an eye online though, as I might break down and get some from them eventually. I am pretty sure the one I was looking at was called Killington, but I cannot seem to find it online... odd. Both of my companions bought yarn from them on this trip and I feel like perhaps I missed out, but I can't justify buying yarn without a pattern for it. Especially when my stash is already so large.

Fishknits is the only booth I actually bought yarn from this weekend; shocking, I know. I got one skein of a yarn I fell in love with. I had gone in to the show wanting to get a sock yarn for some crochet socks (which I hear is a rare thing) and found their selection stunning. I ended up with a self striping fingering yarn in "Dark Side, No Moon". It is a superwash merino wool with a little nylon and a tiny bit of "Stellina" which gives it just a hint of sparkle. Can't wait to use it. 

This was a great little show and I can only hope that it persists and grows. Perhaps next year I will stick around longer and join some of the classes they had going on. Between seeing all the creative people, quite a few of which had odd colored hair like me, all the raffles and door prizes, demonstrations and selection, and free cake, I will for sure be back again next year.

March 16, 2015

Viktor The Viking Hat

Got an order for a new viking hat for a graduating student of my husband's school who has been the school mascot for a few years now. As a present that would remind him of the school and his position there I tried to make this new hat look like the one the mascot wears... I guess I should have gotten some fur yarn, but I hate that stuff.
Hubby in his hat and Victor The Viking!
I used a basic beanie pattern, and taking notes from the last one I made, incorporated the studded band into the last three rows of the pattern. I used four leftover yarns I had on hand to make this hat, a dark brown for the body, a light specked gray for the brim and horn bands, white for the horns themselves and a light golden yellow for viking braids!
Top: completed horn unstuffed, Center: stuffed, Bottom: closed off
I also went back and used the same horn pattern I had rewritten based on one by Cheyenne Crochet. Just as a note to self: I used 6 dc popcorns for the brim and 5dc popcorns for the horn bands. At the base of the horns I did three rows of the light brown and added the same studs around, but put more of them closer together. Last time I just stuffed and sewed the horns on to the hat. This time I added a 24stitch circle to the bottom to close them off and then sewed them on a little lower. I'm hoping that makes them a little more sturdy and less floppy.

The viking braids are detachable, since I was unsure if they would read like girl hair to anyone who doesn't know our mascot. They button to the inside of the hat on each side. Basically I just made a tab and attached the long "hair" to that, braided it and tied it off. For a minute I thought about making a full face mask with mustache like these, but Victor doesn't really have a beard per-se and that might have been a bit much. This way it's more wearable.

Left: Tab with strands attached, Right: Braided
Tab pattern:
chain 6, turn
sc, dc, chain 1, dc, sc
chain 2, turn, dc in top of sc, sc in top of dc, chain space and next dc, dc in top of last sc
chain 1, turn, 5 sc across
bind off.
Cut 18 long strands of yellow (mine were about 24 inches long) for each braid, so 36 total. On each tab you have 5 stitches. Attach 3 strands to the first, 4 to each of the center three stitches, and 3 to the last. I folded the long strands in half and attached the hank like a tassel, pulling up a loop of the strands, through the stitch and pulling all the dangling ends through it and tightening it off. Then separate out your strands into three sets of 12 and braid. I wrapped the light brown around it and tied it off.

I hope it does a good job of reminding him where he came from as he moves on to college. And when he returns for Homecoming and Alumni events, that he remembers to bring it along. :)
Go Vikes!

Difficulty: Easy
Time to complete: 10 hours

March 9, 2015

Jenning Street Yarns

Time for another yarn store review! I needed to get a few new yarns for upcoming projects and as I am not heading to Austin or Houston anytime soon, I decided to give a new yarn store in Fort Worth a try.

Not sure how I found Jenning Street Yarns, but I am glad I did.
Comfy chairs to the left, Pattern area to the right.
I must admit the store is a tiny bit hard to find, in that the area is not one of the more populated areas of Fort Worth. In terms of space, it must be similar in size to Madtosh, but is so much more densely packed that they have almost everything you could want! Even with their huge selection of yarn there was space with a large table for classes, a mini library of patterns and a table and chairs for that area, and a few comfy chairs.
Lots of books too, and clearance bins!
My list consisted of Cascade Heritage in Pine, a small bit of gold, Cascade Heritage in Black,
and something for a tunisian vest that I am learning to make from a Craftsy online class. I needed about 1200 yards of a worsted weight wool.
Very nice organization by colors and brand.
They did indeed have the Cascade in Pine, and the lady helped me find a lovely and cost-effective blue yarn for the vest in Encore Tweed in by Plymouth Yarns. I needed about 6 skeins to make sure I had enough, so the cost came in at about $50. Which is not bad at all!

I will for sure be back again! And check out the sentiment on the tote bag... certainly my kind of store.

PS: If you are wondering, I am still looking for a good black sock yarn, and I got a tiny skein of Madtosh fingering weight yarn in Dandelion for the "gold" while in Fort Worth.

March 2, 2015

Houndstooth Scarf

Was contacted to make a complimentary piece to a friend's favorite sweater. The sweater in question is a black and white fair isle sweater with red accents and she asked for a houndstooth black and white scarf to go with the outfit.

I spent a little time looking through patterns online and found one I really liked. I shared it with her and she agreed that it would be perfect. The pattern is by Kathy Lashley of ELK Studio and free through Ravelry or her blog.

This is a super basic pattern and might be an excellent one for a beginner. It uses a basic chain start, and alternates between sc and dc to get the houndstooth look. Most patterns online use this technique and although it isn't a true houndstooth shape, it really gets the job done and looks nice. It did take me quite a few rows into the scarf before I could really see how it would look when done.

For me this pattern was such a no brainer, that I watched a lot of Crash Course while getting it done. Figured I could relearn some stuff while working.
I like long scarves, and the one in the pattern is 5'6"! I was working on these from leftover skeins and decided to let the white one run out and see how long that made it. I got close to the end of the skein and it started tangling really bad, so I decided to stop and measure it as it was. Turns out it was 80 inches long. That's 6'8"... LONG! So I decided to stop and let it be. The width is 7 inches. This is one heck of a giant scarf, but since she lives up north maybe it will actually be warm enough. It could easily be folded in half hotdog-style and wrapped double thick. Or folded hamburger style and pulled through the loop. It should look nice with a number of winter coats so I am really happy with how it turned out, especially how the pattern looks a bit reversible.

Difficulty: Easy
Time to complete: 5-6 hours