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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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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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Crochet Cell Phone Cases

I make a ton of crocheted pieces but I don’t actually use many of them. I tend to give them away as gifts. I love making beanies but I can’t stand having things on my head. Most of my dolls have been sold or given away. Even the blankets I’ve made have been given away. But one thing I do use religiously is a cell phone case. When I’m at work (after school program) I get many calls or texts from parents so it’s important that I have my cell phone on me at all times. I usually wear shorts or jeans so I have belt loops. When I first started working there, I realized I needed a solution for my phone that would keep it near, keep it safe, and keep it accessible. In the beginning, I bought phone cases that had a clip but they would constantly slip of. I tried putting the phone in my pocket but sometimes I didn’t have pockets or it felt awkward in there. Worst of all was when I would sit on it because I forgot it was there! I decided I could make something that would work much better. I made my own cases with flaps and a button for closure (so the phone wouldn’t slip out) and attached a lobster claw key ring so I could hook it onto my belt loop so it wouldn’t slip off.

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I have made several phone cases over the years in colors that match the colors I wear most often. The kids really like it when I switch them up. They always comment about the cases when they notice I’m using a different one.

Here’s a sampling of some that I have made over the years. My older cases are too small now since phones keep getting bigger! I’m trying to repurpose them for other uses. They’re also starting to show signs of wear so I think it’s time to make up some new ones.

phone cases

My favorites are the black one and the orangie one on the top right. My students tend to favor the rainbow one.

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Freebie Friday – “I’m Batman” Crochet Rag Doll

So one of my students reached prize box and couldn’t find anything he wanted in there. I asked him if he wanted a jumbo candy (another prize point on our chart) instead and said he couldn’t have candy. I asked him if there was something in the prize box he wanted before and that I could buy and he said no. I asked if there was something he wanted me to make and he said Batman! I obviously walked into that one but I did offer so I went off to do some research.

Turns out if you look up a character and attach the word Minecraft to it, you can find a Minecraft version of almost anything. I did just that and found this:

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I showed it to my student and he liked it. I looked at a few other options for reference but this one worked best as a guide since it lends itself so well to my square rag dolls.

Most of my rag dolls are made from squares and rectangles. The head and body are made with two square panels and some color-work. The arms and legs are made from one square (or rectangle) and folded over. I sew up three sides. Then I assemble my doll by sewing the pieces together.

All rows in all the pieces for this doll had 10 single crochets per row.

The back of the head was done with 10 rows all done in black. The front was done with 7 rows in black and 3 rows in beige (or tan). I made the eyes before sewing and stuffing the head.

The body was done with 5 rows of grey, 2 rows of yellow, 1 row of black, 2 rows of grey, black, grey color work.

Here is my version before assembly:

Batman

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Instagram, Finally!

I love visiting with family. My daughter and sister were over this weekend and my son and his cousin were trying to destroy each other (and possibly my house) with their rough housing between bouts of destruction on their game consoles. They were having fun and exercising at the same time. Win win.

In the meantime, I was talking to my daughter about her Instagram account and how she used it because I wanted to get my account going but hadn’t gotten around to it. I must admit that I am often confused by all that is out there in the social media world. It hasn’t been long since I’ve become somewhat proficient at using Facebook and I’m a recent convert (more like addicted) to Pinterest. Meanwhile, Instagram has totally eluded me even though everyone was telling me I should be using it. I had a Flickr account where I posted my crochet projects (that was hardly getting any notice) so I wondered why I should bother with yet another outlet for pictures. I understood the general idea of Instagram but it seemed so redundant. I did, however, open an account and posted one picture. Then I lost interest and abandoned it. My daughter showed me what she was posting (her beautiful art and wonderful photography) and it inspired me to become more active. She asked (insisted) I show her my  account and she looked at it. As I said, I had one post. She started laughing when she saw I had posted it 32 weeks ago! I never said I knew what I was doing! But I’m always willing to learn. :-).

Mini Me instagraming

That’s me Instagaming and my daughter making sure I knew what I was doing. (The roles were played by Mini Me  and Frankendoll).

I decided I would have a go at it while my kiddo was visiting me so she could save me from myself in this Instagram world. In no time at all, I was posting some images of my crochet projects (mostly dolls) that were on my phone. I already had a few followers (all family members that took pity on me even though I only had one post). I started getting likes right away (from my loyal family 🙂 and I got super excited when I got my first like from a stranger. When I got my second like, my son said I was trending! We all had a good laugh at that but I was super excited. Now I’m posting a little everyday. Social media can be very time consuming and sometimes intimidating. I’m trying to balance it with family, work, blogging, and life 🙂 But I’m happy I finally got on board. I’m finally Instagraming! That’s not a real thing, is it. Heh!

If you’d like to follow me my Instagram name is: yochetcrochet

You can also click the button below.

Instagram

The Little Mermaid Crochet Doll

One of my co-workers had finished two small crochet squares at work that she abandoned in our unfinished pieces box. She was learning to crochet and had picked it up pretty quickly. I asked her if she was interested in making one of our rag dolls and she gave it a try. I don’t think making toys is her cup of tea so she didn’t return to the project.

I had finished making all the promised dolls I needed to make and saw those two lonely squares just sitting there begging to become something (or someone :-). I asked them (I speak to my pieces all the time) what they wanted to become and they both said they heard a lot of the girls mention the Little Mermaid. Perfect! Those two little squares would become the Little Mermaid.

I picked them up and noticed that one was smaller than the other so I added a few more rows to it. I wasn’t sure what hook size my co-worker used and she couldn’t remember so I just grabbed a G hook. After I finished, I realized the G hook was probably the wrong hook but it didn’t really matter. It’s a toy and no one would notice. The square wasn’t as wide as the other one either but I keep telling the kids the squares don’t have to be perfect. I don’t want them obsessing about a perfect match and that being why they don’t finish their own doll. So I didn’t obsess about it either and went with what I had. When done with the doll, I could also use it as an example of how the doll could still look good even though the squares were slightly different in size.

I made the face, sewed my pieces together with a whip stitch, leaving an opening for stuffing, stuffed it, then sewed it closed. Next came the red hair. This project got so much attention from the kids, boys and girls alike. Before I said anything about what it was supposed to be, they kept asking me if it was the Little Mermaid. I was glad they were recognizing her. It meant I was on the right track.

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Memyselfandpi Minecraft Doll

One of my students requested a Minecraft doll called Memyselfandpi. I’m not sure if that’s what it’s really called but he said it was a Youtuber character. This all went over my head but I looked the character up to assure him and myself I could make it. This is what he looks like:

memyselfandpi

He looks an awful like Steve from Minecraft to me 🙂

Very easy to do. Basically, he looks just like Steve but with a different color shirt and what appears to be a Rubic’s Cube on his hands. But I wanted to try something new with these dolls so I shook things up and made him with Tunisian crochet. I love Tunisian crochet and the ability to make fabric that looks like knitting. I thought it would look good on this character. Here’s what I came up with:

memyselfandpi2

The hands didn’t turn out exactly right but I think it was close enough for this round. I keep all the little scraps of yarn we collect at work so I used those to make the different colors on his hands. Since they would be hidden, I made individual cross stitches and tied them up with a double knot inside.

My student (and his dad 🙂 loved him so I was quite pleased with the result.

One of my kinder students wanted a Mario Minecraft doll. What?! There’s a Mario Minecraft doll? Sure enough, I found an example of this character doing a google search. Where would I be without the internet to help me out! (clueless I’m sure LOL)

That character is a bit more complicated so I’m spending some time contemplating how best to approach that project (while my student is in the background asking me if I’m done already!). In the meantime, I’m finishing up a rag doll style mermaid. The head is made up of two abandoned square pieces made by a co-worker. I hate wasting anything so I took this time to work on something other than Minecraft and turned the head into a wannabe Ariel from the little mermaid. I’m working the body in the round instead of my rag doll motif of rectangles and squares. Should be interesting: square head and round body. Hey, it’s my doll and I can do whatever I want. 🙂 I will post pictures when I am done, even if it looks wonky.

Yarn Shopping Spree!

I was cleaning out my wallet when I found a gift card to Joann’s. I received it for Christmas from a friend. I treat gift cards same as cash and sometimes agonize over how to spend them properly. I have a frugal heart already and when someone gives me a gift card, I want to honor that by spending it as wisely as possible. I went to Joann’s awhile back armed with a 60% off coupon for one regularly priced item and my gift card. Joann’s is very smart. You can’t you use that coupon on sale items and usually what I want is on sale. I did have a coupon for 15% off all purchases but not on door busters. But naturally, what I wanted was a door buster. I walked around looking at things with my 16-year-old son in tow.  He wasn’t rushing me but I knew Joann’s wasn’t his favorite place. I didn’t really want anything specific and the sales and my coupons weren’t in sync to optimize what I did want so I didn’t get anything at all. I forgot about the gift card until I noticed it in my wallet yesterday. I was also thinking about that pretty sweater I posted about recently and how I wanted to get the yarn for it. Now was a good time to get it because of my gift card AND some good coupons. I was going to need 13 skeins of yarn. I had five 60% off coupons and a 20% off any purchase coupon. I was ready!

I went into the store and looked for my yarn. It was not on sale so that meant I could use my coupons. The first problem was that I could only buy five skeins of yarn when I needed 13. I already knew this and was prepared to reprint my coupons two more times and make two more trips to the store before they expired on Sunday. It was inconvenient but doable. The second and bigger problem was that the store didn’t even have all the skeins I needed. One color was completely out and the main color I needed (8 skeins) only had three or  four. The third color was fine. I didn’t want to buy what they had and run the risk that they wouldn’t get more when I needed it so I went on a search for similar yarns. I pulled out my phone and spent a long time looking at yarns and calculating prices based on the coupons I had, whether they were on sale or not and if they carried a similar yarn. I was going a little coo coo but I was having fun. No one was waiting on me and I had all the time in the world to calculate to my heart’s content.

I eventually settled on a compromise between price, available colors and softness of the yarn. The yarn I chose wasn’t as soft as the yarn called for in the pattern but it wasn’t bad. The colors were good and very close to what was needed. The pattern calls for black and two grays. This line only had the black and one gray. I could work with that. I thought might even have a gray I could work with already in my stash but if not, I could make do.

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Soon to be a sweater!

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Funny crochet slippers

Brown Crochet slippers_2

Now that winter is here, I found myself wanting  some warm slippers. My mom used to make slippers for everyone in the family but now that she’s gone, I don’t have that luxury so I decided to have a go at it.

Traditionally, I don’t have a great track record with crochet slippers. I can make the heck out of one slipper but the second one tends to be a little more elusive. Either it comes out too small or too big, even when I do the exact same thing (at least that’s what I tell myself). Inevitably, I try to match the size of one of the slippers but instead, I end up with a craft bag full of different sized slippers. Lol  Well no more, I told myself! I was going to make myself a pair of slippers. And they would match! Continue reading

Minecraft Everywhere!

I have been furiously working on the dolls my students have requested. Although my goal was to only crochet those projects at work since they’re for the students, I promised two students I would finish their projects over our Thanksgiving holiday (we get a week off from school for Thanksgiving. Yay!).

One of the reasons I don’t usually take personal requests from students is because as fast as I am at crochet, I can’t possibly keep up with the demand, even if I worked on their projects at home. But, working at my own pace, I can take suggestions and slowly fill the treasure box with them.

However, I found myself letting those suggestions turn into requests because I thought I would have enough time to finish projects when they reached the treasure box. Well…the best laid plans an all that. I now have about seven pending requests and they are all reaching their goals on our star chart so I find myself telling them they have to wait for their particular item. I thought I had a lot of time on one of the requests since he was far from his prize on our chart so I kept putting that one off but my student reached his goal on our star chart and he’d been asking me about it repeatedly. I felt bad that he was one of the firsts to ask me for something and I still hadn’t even started it. So I finished it over the break.

Then, I promptly started the second one I needed to work on. He didn’t get finished until the end of our first week back to school. It was a busy week at work so I didn’t get much time to crochet. My student asked me every single day if I was finished with his Villager (Minecraft character) and I was finally able to tell him yes.

Here are some of the finished projects.

Top left: Villager

Top right: Dan TDM

Bottom left and right: Popular MMO’s. I believe his name is Pete.

The bottom two look the same but I tried different faces and color work versus cross stitch. The one on the right looks a little worn because I photographed it after I gave it to the student so it’s a little loved around the edges. 🙂

I don’t know these characters so I do my research before I can start one. I go to the actual game on our classroom iPad as well as on the web to get the essence of what they look like. I rip back a lot when I’m making a new character as it never comes out exactly right the first time. I feel I’ve learned a lot as I make each subsequent one. The Villager and the Dan look better than the grey ones. Another student wants one of the grey ones so I think it will come out really well now.

On to the rest of the list! Hello Kitty here I come!