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Student Highlight

I can’t express how proud I am of my students who have taken their crochet skills to the next level. So much so, I thought I would showcase and highlight some of their projects. Some of them have started following my blog and I want to show them how much I love their work by displaying it here.

Three of my 3rd grade girls have been really challenging themselves lately. They have been working on self guided projects that I have been very impressed with and that they are very proud of.

This student (below) was working on a headband when she realized that it wasn’t working out. One of the things I’m always stressing is that crochet is flexible and if something doesn’t work out, there is almost always a way to fix it, perhaps by turning it into something else. She was working rows of single crochet, changing colors to create stripes. When she saw that she hadn’t made the rows long enough for a headband, she turned it into a cute Barbie purse.

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A+ for creativity and flexibility 🙂

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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.

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Freebie Friday – Minecraft Villager

Recently I tackled a Minecraft Villager one of my student’s requested. I thought it was going to be an easy task. My student showed me what it looked like and my initial thought was ‘easy peasy.’

villager 1

Once I actually did some research on the character, I found other pictures that showed a little more detail.

villager 2

He had a large nose. Did I want to embroider a long nose or make a separate piece and sew it on? He obviously has a robe. Should I keep it simple with no robe or try for the robe? Arms crossed (in pictures of the game they seemed crossed) or hanging loose? 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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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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