Archives

Day 17: I made

IMG_9148

I made an afghan! Last spring, Rana pointed out that, with the exception of the quilt on her bed and one sort of scratchy blanket, she only has baby blankets. Kind of hard to stay warm under a pile of tiny blankets. She asked me to make her an afghan that would cover her whole bed. I went through my pattern books and marked a few that I would be willing to make. I had just come off the dog afghan and I needed something a little bit simpler and faster after the intensity of that project. Rana chose this afghan which is featured on the cover of my “Wishes and Wonders” crochet book.

IMG_9153

The pattern is simply named “Hearts and Flowers,” by Katherine Eng. Rana said that she liked the colors in the photo. As you can see, however, that’s not how it turned out. When I was buying yarn, I remembered it as more green rather than teal. Rana was gracious and told me that she liked it anyways.

IMG_9152

Another picture afghan

Earlier this year, I mentioned having a couple of “commission” projects that I needed to get done before I could truly start on any of my own things. The first was making a Roman shade for a friend out of some sunflower fabric she had been hanging onto for years. It was my first go at making a window dressing more complicated than a rod pocket or tab-top curtain. I spent a lot of time reading tutorials and pondering the logistics of it. So that was January. When I finished up the shade (which I did not photograph, sorry), I immediately began working on an afghan for a friend whose canine companion of 14 years had just died right around Christmas. This wasn’t so much a commission as an idea for which I managed to convince some other friends to help fund me (not that they took much convincing — we were all heartbroken for our sweet friend, S, and wanted to do something to help lift her spirits). I presented my idea to them and the photograph I would use to make the afghan — a picture of S’s dog wearing a birthday party hat that she had posted on Facebook a few years ago. What a fun way to remember her little dog! I worked on this afghan everyday and felt like I couldn’t (shouldn’t) work on anything personal until it was done because I had a whole bunch of people counting on me, plus, I just wanted to get it to S as soon as possible.

I used a J Tunisian/afghan hook and Caron Simply Soft yarn; I like it for the sheen and the softness. Here are some “work in progress” pictures with the grand finale at the end.

A little weird and abstract at the beginning

A little weird and abstract at the beginning

Now it looks like a dog! 2/3 of the way done.

Now it looks like a dog! 2/3 of the way done with the picture.

All done and with a border on it!

All done and with a border on it!

I finished it late one night at the beginning of April and mailed it off the very next day. One of the other ladies contacted S’s husband to let him know that “a package” was coming and when it was to arrive so that he could grab it off the porch before S got home from work. He had agreed to video her opening it and then, with her permission, post it for all of us to see since we’re scattered all over the country. S had no idea that we had been doing any of this, so it was all a huge surprise. She was speechless! But she and her family loved the blanket and that totally made my day. I’m so glad I was able to make something so special for her.

Since then, I’ve been working like a maniac in the garden. Or rather, I made gardens out of overgrown patches of land along our driveway and cleared out another overgrown flower bed. I’ve just about got everything planted and I’m really feeling the itch to sew again, so there should be more consistency (I say. ha ha ha) coming up!

Konik’s gray sweater

After my last sweater attempt for Konik that turned out too small, I told him I would make him another sweater. I didn’t have the funds to go buy the fancy yarn I had used for the too-small sweater, but I was able to get some soft gray yarn for a different pattern that I thought might be easier to keep true to size. I made the smallest size written and… poor little Konik could swim in it.

It's going to be a few years before he can wear this

It’s going to be a few years before he can wear this

Looks pretty good flat

Looks pretty good flat

At the neckline there will eventually be large metal snaps. I haven't bought those yet and obviously there's no rush

At the neckline there will eventually be large metal snaps. I haven’t bought those yet and obviously there’s no rush

He's a good sport and still cute, even swimming in yarn.

He’s a good sport and still cute, even swimming in yarn.

Princess dresses

Last year, the girls were not overly happy at the pattern I had chosen for their Easter dresses. With no defined waistline, they said it felt like wearing a baby dress. They’re probably right. So in an effort to redeem myself, I let them choose their pattern and fabric this year. On the plus side, they were both happy. The downside is my girls have expensive tastes. Even after I reined them in a bit! Next year I’m going to have to tighten up the parameters a bit. The pattern was Butterick 3351 — definitely a flower girl dress. The girls chose different bodice views, in which the only real difference was the straps. The pattern itself was actually quite simple to sew. Nothing tricky or unusual, just a very basic dress. It’s the fabric that sets this one apart. Each of the dresses has a sheer overlay on the skirt. In the case of Granota’s dress, it’s a lace, whereas Rana’s is just a sheer fabric with sparkles (we can always tell where she has been when she wears this dress; the trail of sparkles attests to her presence).

IMG_7028  IMG_7029 IMG_7022 IMG_7024 You may notice that Granota’s skirt is a bit fuller. She requested a “foof” to go underneath it. That’s a petticoat to the rest of us. I don’t have pictures of just the petticoat, but I used Sugardale’s tutorial and a soft nylon mesh. Rana didn’t like the idea of a foof, so I didn’t make her one. Since it is still a bit chilly here in the Pacific Northwest at Eastertime, the girls were concerned that they would be cold in their sleeveless dresses, and wearing a big coat over them just wouldn’t be right. I suggested little shawls because I am a glutton for punishment care about my children’s comfort. So in addition to sewing four Easter outfits, I was also crocheting two shrugs.

IMG_7030 IMG_7031 IMG_7025 IMG_7027 Granota’s shawl was from a book I have here at home. Rana’s was from a pattern I found online that I am too lazy to find again (I think it was off of the Red Heart site). Two more happy kids at Easter!

2014 UFO roundup

Happy New Year!

So, we finally made it to 2015. How many of you are asking for a hoverboard for your birthday this year?

Before I dive into a new year of posting, I thought I’d take a look at my unfinished objects from last year. For those who weren’t around this time last year, I wrote down on separate slips of paper the names of projects I had begun and abandoned at some point with the goal of pulling one new slip each month through 2014 and then completing that project. Some I finished, others never saw the light of day.

UFOs doneThis should be a familiar little collage. We’ll go row by row.

1. The rag rug — slip wasn’t pulled

2. The crochet gingerbread house — Finished! Well… more or less. It got a brief mention on my December 14 photo post. This little gingerbread house pattern was featured in the Crochet Today “Crochet Gift List” special edition from winter 2011 (presumably, since this is a “best of” collection, it was published in a previous issue at some point). The photo in the magazine shows the little house with about 500 more “candies” on it than mine.

gingerbread houses

Aside from being an overall better photograph, theirs is about 1000x more ornate than my sad little house. I do have intentions [suppress your snickering] of adorning it with all the additional candies, but it just wasn’t happening this year. However, I’m still counting this in the “finished” column because it is, technically, put together. For those who wondered, the four walls of the house were crocheted together at the edges. Then I had to slip them over a cardboard frame made-to-measure (I used an old oatmeal box). The roof — also glued to cardboard — is then placed on top. The icicles do the double duty of looking purty and hiding where the pieces meet. For now, the gingerbread house is packed away with the rest of the Christmas decorations, so it’s as done as it’s going to get until after Thanksgiving. And, whenever I do stick on the rest of the candies, I promise to take a better picture.

Ok, back to the UFO graphic.

3. Peasant top blouse — It gets an X because it was a major failure. I pulled the slip, I tried to make it work, but I could have fit myself and two of my children inside this thing. Onto the scrap heap!

4. Rainbow afghan — Well, I worked on it, so I’m giving it a yellow check. Sort of a provisional check mark. I made more granny squares, but I ran out of yarn for the green (and final) round of squares. I wasn’t in a position to buy more yarn for this project, so it is stuck in limbo for the time being.

5. Wheat sweater — never pulled the slip. This is one I actually want to get finished before this winter is over. It sure would be nice to have another sweater to wear.

6. Axl doll — never pulled the slip.

7. Purple sock — never pulled the slip. I am really, really tempted to just pull the whole thing off the loom and start over (there wasn’t that much on there) because I don’t remember what I was doing when I stopped working on it two (or three?) years ago.

8. Stuffed animal dress — Finished! And blogged!

9. Embroidered wool baby booties — Finished! And blogged!

So, five out of nine projects were addressed in some way or another. That’s not a terrible showing, I guess, but I was hoping for better from myself. I think my crafting goal for this year will be stashbusting, mostly in the fabric realm. I have yards and yards of fabric that was purchased with garments in mind and have just never gotten around to sewing them. I could have a pretty nice wardrobe if I’d just sit down and do it! My yarn stash needs busting of some sort, but most of what I have there is a leftover hodge-podge that doesn’t readily lend itself to much of anything. I could populate an amigurumi jungle, I guess. I dunno. We’ll see what I do with that.

January is already looking swamped, project-wise, so I’m predicting that it won’t be until at least the end of February before I pull another UFO slip. How do I get swamped? A few different things — I have a couple of “commissions” that I need to tackle; needs within my own family arise (e.g. Konik needs new mittens; I promised a new skirt to Granota months ago, etc, etc.); also, there are always things to be repaired (and frankly, I’m not so good about getting to those). The good news is, I should have plenty of things to write about! The standing question is, will I find the time? Stay tuned to find out.

December 14: Handmade

Now here’s something you probably thought I had forgotten about. Never fear, I’ve been slowly working on it.

IMG_6429This crocheted gingerbread house was one of my many UFOs. Now it’s a mostly-finished object. It still needs additional “candies” on it, but I haven’t made those. Again, Baby Sprinkaan has affected my ability to craft. Track with me: The little house stands about 7.5″ tall, so the candies are quite small. Little items like that are easy to misplace. Baby Sprinkaan is an expert at finding tiny things that the big people have lost. And then he eats them. So the embellishment part of the project is on hold. Maybe I’ll add a few new bits every year?

More or less homemade Halloween

WordPress tried to get fancy on me and switched me over to the “improved posting experience.” Well… the improved experience ate my post last Wednesday and I was too disgusted to start over again. But, I suppose it’s time to stop pouting and get back on the horse. Problem is, I don’t even remember what I was going to write about. How about we take a look at our Halloween costumes?

There wasn’t a whole lot of crafting involved in our costumes, but there was a considerable amount of DIY.

First is Rana. She wanted to be Cleopatra, which is actually what she had intended to be last year before Joan Jett swayed her. The Joan Jett wig was hardly suitable for Cleopatra, so I looked and looked and the best I could find was a Snow White wig. Rana doesn’t know that I cut the red ribbon off. This wig had seen better days and I tried to tame it by soaking it in water and conditioner, but that really didn’t do a thing. To make it look appropriately royal and Egyptian, we needed some kind of headdress. I didn’t really have time to make something elaborate; I found this crochet headband pattern which turns out looking pretty good in gold crochet thread. The beauty of this pattern is that you can make it up in any weight yarn (well, within reason), just use the appropriate sized hook. One thing to note is that this was written with UK crochet terms, so for Americans — when she says “slip stitch,” she means single crochet. It will turn out to be kind of a lumpy mess if you actually slip stitch.

Rana’s Egyptian “dress” is actually a chemise I made from Simplicity 5726 (The Fashion Historian pattern by Martha McCain) which I’ve already talked about here . A gold and silver belt and some canning rings for bracelets finish off the costume. Rana was convinced that she was the spitting image of Cleopatra and we’ll just let her think that because she had fun, and isn’t that what dressing up is all about?

She wouldn't walk like an Egyptian for me.

She wouldn’t walk like an Egyptian for me.

Granota was a kitty cat. With purchased ears and tail, a painted face, and black clothes, her outfit was pretty easy to put together.

Meow!

Meow!

Beaten only by… Konik’s pumpkin suit. I crocheted the little stem & berries hat he is wearing, but apparently never blogged about it? I can’t find a post about it. I made it when he was just 1 year old and so now, it is technically Sprinkaan’s hat, but Sprinkaan is a kind and understanding baby and let his big brother borrow it for just one night.

Sugar punkin

Sugar punkin

So that leaves Mr. Gren, Sprinkaan, and me. Can you guess?

IMG_5997

Yes, we were Doc, Marty, and Jennifer from “Back to the Future.” We outfitted Baby McFly’s stroller like a little cardboard Delorean, complete with glow-stick flux capacitor. It all started because Sprinkaan already had that little red vest and we went from there. If we had had more time between when we thought of the costumes and when we wore the costumes, we probably could have made a better Delorean. But that’s what you get for one rushed afternoon of work. Also, there was that little issue of making it baby-safe. Rather than being an exact replica, we’ll just say it embodies the essence of the real Delorean.

Roads? Where we're going, we don't need "roads."

Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need “roads.”

The Delorean Motor Company probably didn't use cardboard and duct tape.

The Delorean Motor Company probably didn’t use cardboard and duct tape.

Outatime

Outatime

1.21 gigawatts!

1.21 gigawatts!

 

Great Scott!

Great Scott!

There you have it: Halloween 2014!

IMG_5987