Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's true! Today is all about me. Well, OK, not exactly. But in my world most days are all about me anyway, so what's one more?

On the birthday list was a massive body exhausting workout. Oddly enough this was what I wanted. Seriously. Remember, you're talking to a girl who requested a stationary bike for Christmas and got it. (To see a picture of how thrilled I was to get it check

So after a breakfast of whole grain pancakes smothered with chopped apples and a nutella sauce I went straight to my living room and busted out some serious moves. An hour an a half later I can now barely lift my arms and my legs shake a bit as I walk. That was just my resistance training, later I'll do cardio.

Anywho, I'm sure no one wants to hear me ramble on about my various plans for the next year in regards to my personal fitness, instead I know you're all dying to know my crafting New Years resolutions!

First up is to expand on a small granny square (hexagon) "blanket" that I started when my husband and I were first married. I want to double its size. My second is to make a Robot Devil amigurumi. That's all I have for crafting resolutions so far.

This works wonderfully as a cover (usually I tuck under the front end) to my antique cedar chest that originally belonged to my great grandmother.

I think that it has a lot of potential to be a really great bedspread or something. With that in mind I've started making more hexagons.

Maybe I'll actually finish it by our 10th anniversary!

The week or so before Christmas I made my sister a really nice dark grey cowl. It turned out really really nice. Actually, so nice I didn't really want to give it away.  As Christmas day rolled around I opened a lovely gift from my mother consisting of three balls of a very soft almost fluffy yarn. Whats a girl to do with such a gift? Make her own birthday present!

Nice and soft, extra warm, and as pretty as could be. A cowl to call my own.


Also in the week before Christmas I won my first blog giveaway on It's Geek to Me. This is seriously the third thing I've ever won. First, was in the first grade I won a helmet at a bike safety drawing, second was a Mini Cooper towel from the Mini Takes the States 2010 rally, and now a whole bunch of yarn! I'm so happy!

I haven't decided what to make with it all yet, but I can't wait to use it!

Happy New Year to my fabulous readers!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ah Free Time

Well, not that I'm taking a break from crafting nerdy amigurumi and making patterns I've been able to get some other work done.

Behold the mighty cowl and matching hat for my sister and her boyfriend.

Stand in awe as I model the mighty cowl with a dorky expression.

Bow before the cuteness of the fleece baby hat!

 That's about it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

"Won't you join my slaying tonight?"

I give you Robot Santa!

I've been wanting to make this guy since I first picked up the connection between crochet and Futurama. He, and the Robot Devil, are two of my absolute favorite characters! I'm still waiting for the right yarn to come along for the Robot Devil though.

So what's better than seeing Robot Santa in crochet glory? Being able to make him yourself! I have a lovely little pattern here that I've crafted just for my adoring followers.

With this, however, I think I'm going to take a little time off! Christmas is here and now that Robot Santa is safely tied up and placed on top of my tree it's time to start the celebration.

Pattern: Remember it's untested, but at least it's free!

Body: In red to start
Magic circle with 6 sc.
Increase to 12 sc
inc every other stitch for 1 row
inc every 3rd stitch for 1 row
inc every 4th stitch for 2 rows
inc every 5th  stitch for 2 rows.
3 = rows
inc every 10th stitch for 1 row
2 = rows
inc every 10th stitch for 1 row
2 = rows
dec every 7th stitch for 2 rows
2 = rows
switch to white
2 = rows
dec every 5th stitch on inside half of previous row.

dec every 4th for 1 row
dec every 3rd stitch for 1 row
dec every other stitch, then every stitch, fill and finish closing.

Arms: In red to start
ch 17, attach ch 1 to ch 17
4 = rows
dec every 10th stitch for 3 rows
4 = rows
dec every 10th stitch for 2 rows
switch to white
2 = rows
dec every 3rd stitch twice (not two rows)
dec until closed
Attach to body.

Head: In grey
ch 22, attach ch 1 to ch 22
5 = rows
dec every 15th stitch for 4 rows
3 = rows.
dec until closed OR slip a strand of yarn along the opening and cinch closed. This will be under his hat
Stuff and attach to body.

Legs: In red to start
ch 10, attach ch1 to ch10
3 = rows
switch to black
4 = rows
ch 3, attach straight across the foot to divide heel and toe.
2 = rows on half for toes
sl st closed and sl st back to other open half
dec until closed
stuff and attach to body.

Hat: Totally forgot to write out instructions for the hat, sorry!
ch enough to fit the circumference of his head in red
dec ever 10th or so stitch for a couple of rows, and then decrease more frequently to form a point.
switch to white,  increase for a row and then decrease on the next row to form the ball.
close and tie off.

 Details: In felt
Cut out a long strip of black felt for his belt and sew on. Add yellow for the buckle.
Add a strip of white felt around the brim of his hat and the edge of white on his hands as well as his shoulder joints.
Make two small tubes of grey for his "cheeks" and attach.
Add felt eyes, a layer of orange on top of grey. You can make him sad, angry, or happy!
Add the mouth, a large white beard with jagged "teeth" cut out and yellow behind.
Push small grey felt triangles into his hat for spikes. Repeat with white for his hands.
Sew little black buttons on his chest.

"Oh it might appear empty, but the message is clear: play Santa again, and I'll kill you next year!"

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

Tip Junkie handmade projects
As a side note I'm participting in the Tip Junkie Tip Me Tuesday with this post.            

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Sharp Crochet Hook Review

A couple weeks ago I was asked to review a new product called the Sharp Crochet Hook . Now that I'm back from vacation I've been able to experiment a bit!

"With the Sharp Crochet Hook, you can easily crochet a cute edging or border on any fabric you want. There is no need to get it hemstitched or poke holes through the fabric before crocheting." -

In other words the hook is exactly what it sounds like, a sharpened crochet tool which provides you with the ability to put a base edge on fabrics without prior work. I was intrigued by the concept and was excited to work on something!

I picked up a thin handkerchief to experiment on. I didn't use any of the provided patterns, of course. If you've followed my blog at all you know I'm far too lazy to follow patterns! However, I can see where on delicate lace-like edging a pattern could come in handy. My brain doesn't think in negative space very well, so naturally amigurumi are my forte.

The Sharp Crochet Hook is indeed sharp. I constantly pressed too hard through the fabric (because it does still take a bit of effort) and caught my finger or ran its edge along my knuckle as I pulled a loop through. I did develop a rhythm after a bit, but I found a few hang ups along the way.

The hook isn't only sharp on the tip where you push it through fabric, but it was also sharp on the inner portion of the hook which you use to pull the yarn through. I kept accidentally separating the yarn I was pulling and took only half of it, or I would catch it on the fibers of the cotton handkerchief and accidentally make a bigger hole that I needed.

(Stitching that I removed during trial and error.)

The construction of the hook has a very homemade feel to it. The grip is rough and feels a bit like a nail file and my hook has scorch marks from processing the metal. All of which are purely cosmetic, as the hook still functioned as advertised.

I can see where if you spent a lot of time putting edging onto blankets or gloves/socks/cloths/etc. that a dedicated tool would come in handy. Later I want to mess around with an old tank top and see about adding little sleeves or other details, but for now I stuck with the basics.

Overall the hook is great for it's intended purpose, but that's about it. I feel like the construction is still in it's infancy and could use a little more adjusting, but it does work. The site not only offers the hooks at $6.99 with three free edging patterns, but you can also buy a small crochet edging handbook that offers 15 different simple to complex patterns. The sample images are quite stunning and it makes me wish I had the patience to work such detailed projects!

Below is an example of one of the simple edging designs.

As a side note the Sharp Crochet Hook is not intended to use for anything except creating the edging base. Trying to use it otherwise will result in a lot of frustration since, like I said, the hook has the tendency to split the fibers.
The size of the hook is not written, but "The Sharp Crochet Hook will work with size 10, 5, or 3. I like size 3 the best for baby blankets and burp cloths because it is the softest. Some people like to use size 10 because it has a more "lacy" effect." According to the site's FAQ.

So there you have it! Sharp, very sharp according to my fingers. Great for one specific use. May need a little refining. Wish I had patience for lacy work. Perfect for those that do!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cardinal Ornaments

Christmas has taken over my home and my crochet!

Cardinal ornaments for my grandma! It would be super easy to stick a ornament hook through their upper point, but I liked the look of them nestled in the tree. Of course my grandma can do whatever she wants with them! Finished them just in time though because I have to get these mailed off asap!

I like the short little fat one the best. 

But see? They just look so cute!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My Gift to You (Sort Of)

In the last couple of weeks I have been bombarded with requests to make my plush Toothless dragon, and as honored and flattered as I am to hear how well received my work had been, I also feel incredibly guilty.

Yes, I'm unemployed, yes I did sell them at one point, and yes, I should continue to do so, but I would need to charge about $130 for one of my small plush to make close to minimum wage. To be completely honest it takes up far too much of my time and doesn't even cover our food bill, not to mention the biggest issue: it's not very fun.

I've run into this problem making anything to sell from my blog. It drives me nuts, but that's how it is. So I finally decided that making $3.30 an hour doing something that's not super fun just doesn't work.

I love making things that are new and challenging! Since repeating a pattern and a single project over and over isn't my cup of tea I've decided to hand you my pattern.

This is just the bare bones pattern. I don't have any explanation or how-to set up, though I hope to make one last dragon (for myself since I never did get to keep one) and provide a tutorial. I will be working on this through December as well as another holiday themed amigurumi with pattern.

With that being said Merry Christmas. Um, also I'm not sure this will be any help without instructions. This pattern was originally adapted from another Toothless pattern on Deviant Art. Without that (rather terrible) starting point I wouldn't have been able to make this.

Head x1, jaw x2, jaw fin back x2, head fin back x2. I'm missing the underside which looks exactly like the head piece only without the four fin extensions - which you need one of. 

Belly x1, back (the lower piece) x2.

Tail fin x2, side fin x4

Great big wing x4

 Toes x4, foot pad x4, legs x8, rounded fin x5 (one for each leg and one for his forehead).

 All in all the pieces come together something like this. Oh, just realized I didn't get a close up shot of his back fin-spike-things. It's a series of spiked waves that are in an 8 inch strip that you sew from about the middle of the wing attachment down his back.

Like I said my pet project this month is to sew my own Toothless and take pictures as I go. I'll be able to explain and hopefully walk you through the process.

Until then!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gobble Gobble?

Happy almost Thanksgiving!

I have to admit that it is nice to finally be home. My trip back up to chilly Washington State was a fantastic one, though I did spend most of it planted in front of fire places with mugs of hot chocolate.

I spent every minute possible with my family and wouldn't trade it for the world. Though next time I really hope they stop trying to fatten me up! In two weeks I helped eat four cakes and two pies, a batch of cookies, and a whole lot of chocolate. Let's just say that my scale is no where to be seen. 

Before I left one of my friends sent me an amazing care package. She's funny, I won't hear from her in months and then BAM there's a box of goodies on my door step. I'm slowly collecting things to send to her for Christmas, but I doubt any of it will be as fantastic. First were three gorgeous skeins of yarn! 

Then, because of our unfortunate, and shared, stomach issues she also sent me fiber gummy chews and Imodium! Hah! Cracked me up. Oddly enough I love useful gifts and now when I eat my little fiber candy I think of her. So if M.M.M. is reading this, I love you!

Back to my vacation. I did get some crocheting in, though nothing too extraordinary. A scarf and door draft protector for my grandmother, but she is so sweet (at times) and raved about how wonderful my work was. So when we invited her over for a last family dinner before I left she brought me chocolates, tea, and yarn! This may sound like something a typical doting grandmother would do, but trust me, this was an unprecedented act of extreme kindness for her.

So now my yarn bins are overflowing! I have no idea what to make with the six skeins I've recently received, so feel free to leave me some suggestions. For now I do have one tantalizing project that I've been itching to start. Now that Christmas music is freely playing it's time to break out the red and green.

Have a wonderful turkey day everyone!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gingerbread Tree

It's finished! I really really hope that it is a hit at the charity auction. Is it weird that I would make something to give away and make money for someone else and yet not sell things to make money for myself? For some twisted reason it just feels right to give my creations away to people I care about. So Megan L, this one's for you!

Hopefully now everyone will understand why I called it the "Gingerbread Tree." 

Oh, and I didn't really mean to correlate cardinals with the world series, but life is funny like that. Honestly cardinals in a snow dusted tree just makes me feel a bit of Christmas magic. 

My intention was to avoid making the tree TOO Christmas-y since Thanksgiving will be the big holiday everyone is thinking about. Did I do OK? The green base was actually chosen because it echoed back to when my mom would receive trees with their root ball all tied up in a canvas material. I had some tan yarn, but the green just worked better. It also added more color interest. 

The base is filled with dried black beans. I knew I would be stretching the stitches, so I went with black to disguise the inevitable gaps. The tree is supported mainly by a coat hanger split among the main two branches. The smaller branches have pipe cleaners pulled through to help keep their shape.

Maybe next year I'll actually make things appropriate to the season. For the 4th of July I did a pumpkin... for October I've done an abominable snowman and a winter tree. Maybe my internal clock needs to be reset.

In any case have a wonderful Halloween weekend!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

WIP Gingerbread Tree

I call it the Gingerbread Tree, though you can't see why in the pictures. My concept art for it makes much more sense.... but I kind of soaked that paper when my tea mysteriously spilled itself...

Anyway this project has absolutely absorbed all of my free time.

 OK, so you have this tree... then a couple of cardinals...a "root ball" and ribbon...

Behold! the tree stands! Sort of.

This is the general idea, though not laying down on a table. The tree will be nestled into a weighted bottom and with birds hanging out. Add in some details and hopefully it will equal something grand. Honestly I hate posting WIP, I mean if someone showed me THIS and said "isn't it great!" I would be liable to hit them. You gotta trust me though, it will look better when it's done.