10/03/2014

No-Sew Halloween Patterns!

You only need to look at my pattern collection to realize that Halloween is my favorite holiday. There's just something about having a blank check to eat as much candy as you want AND play tricks on those who don't comply -- it speaks to me.

Unfortunately, having a child with significant food allergies puts a pretty big damper on the holiday. We still love dressing up and going out to trick-or-treat, but when she gets home, with her loot, we end up having to "trade" 90 percent of her haul for soy and dairy-free alternatives.

The classroom is no better. The class Halloween party ALWAYS focuses on food, and there are so many treats that my Little Miss has to miss out on. Since she started kindergarten last year, I've been trying to make that different for her: we give tiny amigurumi instead of cupcakes.

Of course, with a class of 20+ kids, who has time to sew all the little arms and wings? To answer that question, I've come up with some new, no-sew patterns. In fact, the only sewing on ANY of these three patterns is the optional embroidered faces (you could also paint or glue faces if you prefer).

You can find all three patterns through my usual sales outlets (Ravelry, Etsy and Craftsy) -- or download them right here on my website. The ghost and bat are $1 each and the pumpkin is free.

Happy Halloween!


8/12/2014

The Little Yeti

My friends on Instagram have seen a lot of activity lately over one new little friend... a fuzzy little yeti named "Kimchi." Kimchi was one of those creations you whip up "just cause," but he quickly got lots of love from fellow Instagrammers. The Little Miss (who quickly yeti-napped Kimchi) thought that everyone should be able to have their own little yetis if they want one, so I set to work on a pattern.

And... after quite a bit of trial and error -- the pattern is finally ready! My new yeti pattern is designed for sport weight yarn and an E hook. It also uses a pet slicker brush to get that fluffy fur look (don't worry, I walk you through how to do it in the pattern.

Kimchi the yeti with -- you guessed it --
kimchi pancakes!
You can get your own copy of the yeti pattern through all the usual sources (Ravelry, Etsy, and Craftsy) or get all the details right here on my web site -- and start hooking on your own fuzzy little abominable monster today. In fact, you might want to make two -- these little guys are so cute, they have a way of being yeti-napped right out from under your nose!

The yeti-napper!

7/23/2014

Rosie Roly Poly

This summer has been the summer of bugs... OK, maybe the summer of isopod crustaceans to be more precise. My daughter (the Little Miss) has been obsessed with finding all sorts of critters -- from daddy long legs to lightning bugs to the perennial favorite, roly poly bugs. Of course, we've had more than one discussion about why her new friends are NOT allowed to sleep in the house and more than one pout about having to return her newly-captured critters to the outside. I figured it was time to take mercy on her plight and give her a critter that was truly cuddle-worthy, and Rosie was born.

Despite her huggable size, Rosie is just a baby roly poly (or "pill bug," as we used to call 'em when I was a kid). The pattern is relatively short and works up in a couple of hours. You can choose to add the optional bow, or leave it off to make a boy roly poly -- even spice up the world of isopod crustaceans by making a one-of-a-kind colord roly poly -- the options are limitless!

As usual, the pattern file is available on Ravelry, Craftsy, and Etsy (please bear in mind that you'll pay a little more on Etsy to offset the cost of selling in that venue -- but you can take advantage of the instant download and credit card processing [no PayPal] there). Find out all about the new pattern here, or head to one of my shop sites to get started hooking your own "Rosie" now!

7/09/2014

Sewn!

That's it. The last piece is sewn... the ends are woven in... and my massive undertaking of a granny blanket is FINALLY in one piece!

What started out as a year-long undertaking, became the worst WIP anxiety I've ever had, and resulted in 360 individually-pieced, 4-inch granny squares is finally a blanket.

Now to decide how to edge it........

7/07/2014

Gifting: Spa Sets

We've been hosting a foreign exchange student for about a year now and have decided to keep her another year. After going back and forth with the natural family, it was decided that our Korean "daughter" would just stay with us for the summer (instead of flying home and back). Economically, it makes sense -- and with my own Little Miss home for a whole three months, I can use the extra pair of hands to help out. But it's pretty clear that the family back in Korea misses her.

I wanted to do something nice for our exchange student's mum ("oma." in Korean) -- to let her know that she's being though of and that we appreciate the faith she has in my helping to raise her child. So, we decided to send oma a happy box. We picked out a pretty new blouse and to top it off, I wanted to send something handmade that mum would appreciate. After a bit of searching, I settled on a spa set.

The wash cloth is a fan stitch pattern developed by RusticThreads on Etsy. I really loved the double-sided texture and they worked up super quick with about 75 yards of cotton yarn. With a little bow on top, they're the perfect gift!

I decided to add a set of six make-up scrubbies for oma too. At first, I considered making plain round ones, but eventually found a free little flower pattern on the Diva Stitches crochet blog. If you check out the link, she even has a coordinating pouch pattern that looks super cute.

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with how things came out -- and I'll definitely be stashing a few spa sets away for teacher gifts and whatnot.

What's your favorite gift pattern?

7/02/2014

Gifting....

Despite the fact that I really want to get my blanket done, I can't ignore the fact that I'm getting a little overdue for some gifts.

One of the nicest thing about being a hand-crafter is that I can whip out the perfect last-minute gift in no time. Of course, finding "perfect" after you've been whipping out wonderful hand-crafted gifts for more than 20 years can get a little challenging -- have I done it already? How many more amigurumi does aunt Sally really need? And the msot challenging question of all... can I whip it up quick so that I can get back to all the other WIPs laying around my craft room???

This time around, I'm settling on "spa sets." The first one will be for our foreign exchange student's mum back in Korea. Then, I have my best friend's birthday coming up, some little end-of-summer-camp thank-yous, and a raffle prize for the nonprofit I work with. I found the most yummy stitch with fellow Etsian, RusticThreads, and while I had to modify the pattern slightly to get the size cloth I wanted, I'm pretty happy with the results (for those of you who want to know, I changed the foundation chain to 36 stitches).

I'd also love to do some coordinating make-up removers to go with the wash cloths, so if anyone knows of a good pattern, please let me know!

And along those lines, I would LOVE to know what your favorite gifting patterns are... I've got a BUNCH more birthdays coming up and it'll be Christmas before we know it (yikes! teacher gifts!).

Happy crocheting!

6/27/2014

Oh, Invisible Seam... How I Love/Hate Thee

Being rather adventurous... and/or insane, I decided that I was going to try something new with this latest project. I have always wanted to try an invisible join and now I absolutely know why I never did it before...

It. Takes. FOREVER!

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, I invite you to take a like at this YouTube video. Note that the woman in the video is seaming a pair of bulky-weight granny squares. Me? I used sport weight yarn on my project and have no fewer than 330 squares to seam... each with 20 stitches per side. That, my friends, is a lot of sewing!

It's not all a loss, though. When you gently pull the yarn you're using to sew your squares together, the seam magically disappears. Seriously. For me, Every. Single. Time I do this -- it's magic. I just can't believe the black yarn is gone!

The other thing I love about this technique is how beautifully the colors can play together. There are no ugly stitches in some contrast color to draw your eye away from the two squares... only turquoise, and yellow... and pink... and...

And honestly, for those 20 stitches on each side of each square, I really get to just enjoy how the colors go together. As I stitch, I think about the colors -- if I've seen them together in nature... what they most remind me of... if I would wear an outfit that had those two colors in them. It's actually kind of fun.

So, tell me. Do you use the invisible seam technique? Do you love it? Hate it? Both? I'd love to hear your experiences!

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