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Eli the Firefly

I love crochet challenges. Crochet challenges have been lobbed at me from family, friends, the kids at work and me. A recent challenge came from my hubby. He is a graphic designer and has many samples of products he’s worked on laying around. One of his current projects included a cute toy called Eli the Firefly. His client is a dentist who created a book and a plush lighted toy that inspires kids to brush their teeth properly. Hubby asked if I thought I could recreate the toy in crochet. As if there was any doubt, of course I could! What kind of question was that? And if so, would I? He thought it would make a nice gift for his client. It was a fabulous idea and I accepted the challenge.

This is a sample of Eli that shows what he looks like. Continue reading

Freebie Friday – Superhero Afghan

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Can you smell Halloween in the air? My students are already telling me how excited they are about Halloween. Me, not so much. Didn’t Halloween just happen? It feels like yesterday. If it’s almost Halloween, it’s almost Thanksgiving, almost Christmas. That just means another year is about to end. But didn’t the year just start?! Oh well, I do love Halloween. So, getting into the spirit of it all, I came across this really cute superhero dream catcher afghan. So for all those Spiderman fans out there, this one’s for you!

I am not affiliated with any websites nor do I make any money from these sites. They are simply patterns I like or would like to try myself.

Purplicious Doll WIP

My modus operandi strikes again!

I’m working on a doll using only shades of purple yarn. I had a light colored ball of yarn that I thought would be perfect for her (why is it always a her?) head and body.

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What do you mean there’s not enough  yarn for my legs?!!!

She was coming along nicely but in my typical fashion, my ball of yarn was very small when it came time to make the legs. Never daunted by running out of un-replaceable yarn, I opted to mix colors for the legs.

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Looking a little raggedy there but she’ll look fine when she’s completed.

In this case, I’m glad I ran out of yarn. I like the legs much better than if they had just been one plain color. 🙂

Running out of yarn keeps my mind sharp! (Yes, I’m sticking to that story. :-))

 

Modus Operandi

Modus Operandi: A particular way or method of doing something, especially one that is characteristic or well-established. 

I have a modus operandi. That would be running out of yarn, a yarn I can’t replace, when I’m close to finishing a project. It happens so often, I don’t get alarmed anymore. I would even argue it keeps my mind sharp. How, do you ask? Am I spinning it so I don’t sound disorganized or unrealistic about how much I can stretch a ball of yarn? Nay, I say! I have many balls and skeins of yarn I’ve acquired in varied ways. There were yard sales, donations, thrift stores, and the collection I received from my mom. It’s almost impossible to get more. Sometimes I CAN get more yarn but unless the project is mission critical (it almost never is), I’m usually too busy (lazy) to run out and get more. This naturally forces me to come up with a solution to my dilemma. I have to rethink and regroup and find another yarn in my hodgepodge stash that would make my project just as good if not even better. Sometimes I fail but sometimes I come up with something I  love even more than what I originally planned. It keeps my mind sharp!

Talking about the crochet tooth (who was talking about the tooth?),  once I figured out the design I wanted, I got to work…and ran out of yarn. At least I was able to finish the top portion of the molar. This is a yarn (off white) I could get more of, but this was a prototype anyway, so being busy (lazy), I didn’t bother.

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Go get some more yarn woman!

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Freebie Friday-Constructing the Sweater

 

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Momma’s little helpers 🙂 Doesn’t seem like a lot of squares when they are nice and neat like this. 🙂

I have finished crocheting the 74 granny squares needed to make my sweater. It is now time to put all those squares together into something that will hopefully look like a sweater. I admit I am a little intimidated by all those squares staring at me. I diligently wove in all the loose ends to each and every square and now the assembly must begin. I have gathered my posse who seems more eager to get started than me. Just look at all those happy faces. Continue reading

Crochet is Relaxing?

Am I the only only crocheter who doesn’t think crochet is relaxing?

The very first time I heard someone say crochet was relaxing, I remember smiling and nodding but in my head I was all Huh? Relaxing? Really? You think so? I guess I had never thought of it that way. Fun, obsessive, inspiring, creative, compulsive, expressive, exciting, thrilling, artistic, enjoyable, addictive, stress-inducing,  soul-fulfilling, euphoric,
frustrating and possibly soothing (does NOT mean the same thing) but never relaxing. What’s so relaxing about obsessively working on a piece until my hands and wrists hurt? What’s so relaxing about looking at your piece and knowing you’re so far from being finished (I’m looking at you dragon cloak)? What’s so relaxing about planning and organizing and trying to learn new things and not always being successful? What’s so relaxing about obsessing over trying to finish a piece you can’t possibly finish in one sitting? What’s so relaxing about being pumped and excited to start a new project? Is it relaxing when I have to complete a gazillion pieces for the craft fair? And so many more things that aren’t that relaxing.

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I don’t have time to relax! I’m crocheting!

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New Crochet Doll

Now that the school year is coming to a close, I’ve stopped taking requests for making rag doll characters from my students (I don’t want that kind of pressure!). I still find myself itching to make something, as well as continuing to crochet to encourage them to continue crocheting. When they see me crochet, they almost always ask if they can crochet too.

I decided to make crochet doll that would represent our after school program (World Academy). I wasn’t sure if the doll was going to be a toy the kids could play with or a decoration for our room but the kids, mainly the girls, kept asking me if I was going to let them play with her.

I got to work figuring out what she would look like. I wanted her to represent all of us in the program and she was loosely based on me. The staff wears a World Academy t-shirt as part of our uniform. I have several colors but the one I was wearing that day is a bright pink and we had pink in our cupboard so pink was the choice for the shirt. I was going to give her blue pants (I’m always wearing jeans) but the kids wanted a skirt so she got a skirt. I gave the doll brown curls made out of spirals. The kids pointed out I had black and white hair, not brown! They didn’t even comment that my hair is definitely not curly.

WA Doll 5.2016_5 Continue reading

Freebie Friday Granny Square And Sweater Derailment

This is what happened.

I finished the dragon cloak (photos to follow in a future post) and I didn’t have any other WIPs (believe it or not). I was antsy with crochet freedom. I realized I now had time to start that sweater from Lion Brand that I posted before on a Freebie Friday.

I thought I’d start with the granny squares called for in the pattern. I don’t make garments very often, what with gauges and special notes and what nots. When I do make a garment, I just use my body as a guide with constant holding up against me and trying on. I don’t need no stinking gauge!

Firstly, I did look over the pattern and read the special notes and perused the stitches used. I scrutinized the diagrams and made an attempt to understand where the pattern was going. Then I jumped right in, grabbed the hook called for (size I) and started hooking. Two things happened right away. 1) I didn’t like the granny square. It looked good in the photo but it was meh in practice and though it wasn’t hard, it was more complicated than I expected for something that looked so plain (to me).  2) It also seemed very large. Too large. I held it up to my body, pictured six of them and realized they would make a huge sweater.

Some of you might be thinking right about now how silly I was for not looking at the gauge in the first place and you’d be absolutely right. Luckily I knew at this point that I needed to find that gauge. It stated that the granny square should be 3 3/4 in by 3 3/4 in. That just didn’t seem right. I pulled out my ruler. My square was over six inches! Wait a minute here. How could I be so off? The pattern recommended using a smaller hook if the gauge was off so I ripped back the square and tried again with a smaller hook (H). It was still too big, by a lot!

At this point, I was contemplating using an even smaller hook size. But the yarn was already getting fiddly with the smaller hook. I couldn’t imagine using an even smaller one. Besides, I didn’t even like the square so I took a step back and looked at other granny squares around the web to find something better.  I found one I liked.

 

Spring flower granny square

The pattern is in UK terms. You can find the original pattern here. My translation is  at the bottom of the post.

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The Prodigal Doll Returns!

This story was inspired by the passing of my oldest sister due to complications of diabetes…

So I made this doll back in 2010. I had just learned about Tunisian crochet and I experimented making some dolls with it. I loved the knitted look that could be achieved and since I was lousy with knitting, I wanted to give it a go. This particular doll was my third attempt at making a doll with this style of crochet. When I was done with her, I thought she was ugly (but I never told her that. I wouldn’t break her confidence that way!). I was happy with the overall doll but I wasn’t too happy with her face. I didn’t do such a hot job with her hair either but she was a prototype so I wasn’t too concerned.

What surprised me about this doll was the reaction some family members had to her. My sis-in-law and close friend fell in love with her and kept cuddling her and asked me if she could have her. She begged me for her. I’m pretty sure she begged me for her :-). I still wanted to make the doll an outfit and take some pictures of her. This doll wasn’t intended for anyone. I wanted to keep her as future reference for other dolls but I had written a pattern already and my friend wanted her so badly that I agreed to let her keep her, but not until I was done finishing her up.

Then, my mom-in-law came to visit and had almost the same reaction as my friend. She also asked if she could keep her but let her know that I had already promised her to someone else but that I would make her a new one (I did eventually make her a new one but it took me over a year to deliver, oops!). I told my friend about it in the event she was feeling generous and would want me to give her to my mom-in-law but she said no way.

Well, on a day my extended family gathered for the holidays, I had intended to give the doll to my friend. I had made her a bassinet, pillow, blanket, an outfit and bought her some clothes. My niece saw the doll and asked me if she could have her too. I let her know that it was already given to someone else and besides, I had already given her some dolls I’d made.

I gave the doll to my sis-in-law (notice she is no longer my close friend at this point) who enjoyed her all of 15 minutes before she gave the doll to my niece! In her defense (this was her defense, not mine), my niece came up to her and let her know how much she loved the doll. My niece, 10 years old at the time, looked pretty cute and convincing. My sis-in-law then said, “Well, dolls should be loved and played with by kids. Will you promise to take care of her?” My niece was no sucker and said that of course she would take care of her. My now not so loved (I’m joking of course!) sis-in-law handed the doll over and that was that.

A couple of things went through my mind in that moment. What just happened???!!! Did she really just give away the doll she begged me for to my niece to whom I had already given dolls to? It could have gone to my mom-in-law (it’s never a bad thing to score brownie points with the mom-in-law), who I was pretty confident would not have given her away in less than 15 minutes.

I don’t blame my niece for wanting her and asking for her but I did NOT expect my sis-in-law to cave in so easily! I felt like snatching the doll back up and giving her to my mom-in-law (brownie points!). But then I came to acceptance. What was done was done. She belonged to my niece now. She conned sis-in-law out of it fair and square. My niece reads this blog and she knows it’s true!

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This is one of the dolls I had given my niece. Just in case there was any doubt I gave her good things!

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My Top 6 Best Crochet Discoveries

I’ve been crocheting for a long time and every now and then I stumble across something new that totally excites me, inspires me, or just makes me extremely happy. Here are the top five things that blew my mind when I discovered them. I know these things have been around forever but at one time they were new to me and I’m so happy I found them.

1. Tunisian crochet

I was looking for a phone case idea (a very long time ago) and found a pattern for a really cute one but it looked knitted. I had just learned how to read patterns but the pattern looked completely foreign to me. Even though the pattern said crochet, it wasn’t any crochet I knew. I liked the case and it said crochet so I was determined to learn its language. It said it was done in Tunisian knit stitch so I looked it up and the heavens opened up for me. I was frustrated with knitting and abandoned it but still liked how it looked and this type of crochet was beautiful and allowed me to pretend I could knit. I’ve been Tunisian crocheting ever since and I absolutely love it!

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The phone case that started it all!

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