Tag Archive | crochet

Putting the plan into place

Happy New Year! We’ve been in the new house for two months now, baby Sprinkaan is 6 weeks old, we made it through the holidays and life is beginning to settle into a more predictable routine, which means I can — fingers crossed — get back on here on a more regular basis. Earlier last week, I began going through my sewing room in an attempt to bring some order to the chaos. I’ve still got more work to do to get it organized to where I can find things easily, but in that process, I made a shocking discovery. Shocking, I tell you! Ok, maybe only to me.

A room of my very own!

A room of my very own!

Whilst cleaning, I came across several UFOs. That’s right, the dreaded UnFinished Object. I’m not surprised that these UFOs exist (I am a procrastinator, after all), just that there are so many of them. I found things I had completely forgotten about. So, in the interest of accountability, I’m posting them all here. Well, I say all; there may yet be undiscovered specimens.

Here's the story of a lovely lady who can't seem to finish what she starts

Here’s the story of a lovely lady who can’t seem to finish what she starts

From the top, going left to right:

  1. Rag rug. I even posted about this back when I started it and then promptly got bored of it and stashed it away. It’s wound into an oval purely for visual purposes because it’s much easier to see it as a rug this way than as the mile-long fabric braid that it actually is. The braiding is complete, as far as I’m concerned, now it’s just the awful task of hand-sewing all that mess together.
  2. Crochet gingerbread house. It doesn’t look like much, but all the actual house pieces are there: roof, front, back, and sides. I just need to finish all the candy features and assemble the thing.
  3. Beige peasant blouse. I started this last spring with the intention of it being a sort of transitional maternity top. That was effective. Again, all the pieces are there, I just need to finish the embroidery on the yoke and sew it up.
  4. Rainbow granny afghan. This is probably the biggest undertaking out of all these projects. I hate weaving in ends and granny squares produce a lot of ends to weave. Multi-colored granny squares make me question my sanity for deciding to embark on this in the first place.
  5. Front of a sweater. This sweater has a name — it’s from my knitting board book, but I can’t find the book yet and I don’t remember the name. At any rate, the front of a sweater doesn’t do me a lot of good without the back and sleeves.
  6. Axl doll. Another naked Axl. I started out all gung-ho on this after I finished the dolls for the girls, but then was struck with ennui when it came to sewing more tiny clothes. The thing is, I did all the hard work the first time and made little patterns so that any subsequent dolls wouldn’t be such a pain, but, eh.
  7. Knitting loom sock. Remember when I made Konik the little striped socks that he loved and wouldn’t take off for three days? Immediately after that, I began making a sock for myself. And then more interesting things came along… I actually haven’t gotten very far on this one at all and, to tell the truth, can’t remember which pattern I was using. I may end up taking it off and doing something else. We’ll see.
  8. Bunny dress. Rana and I had started a little sewing project together to make her favorite stuffed bunny a pretty little dress. We were on a roll and then we missed a few days and a few days turned into a few months.
  9. Embroidered baby booties. You want to know how shameful my UFOs are? I began these booties when I was pregnant with Konik. He’s 4. I need to get a move on if any of my own children are going to actually wear these. Sprinkaan, you are our last hope.

So here’s my New Year’s Resolution of sorts: for the next year, I will choose one of these projects each month and bust it out. Originally I was just going to randomly pull one from a jar, but obviously, some of these have a little more urgency than others, like the booties for example. That one will have to be the first… just as soon as I finish the little sweater I’m knitting for Sprinkaan. Maybe after that I’ll go with the jar idea. For some reason, it feels more likely that I’ll actually do these if I feel like it’s a surprise and not an assignment. I will (again, fingers crossed) be making other things during the next nine months. These items are, with the exception of the doll clothes, my “armchair crafts” — the things that I can work on in the evenings after I’ve put the kids to bed and just want to sit quietly. Even with the new baby, I’ll make time for daytime projects. So, when I begin one of these UFOs, I’ll post about it and you all can pester me hold me accountable throughout that month to make sure I finish it! Deal? Deal.

Yarn therapy

Fall is my favorite season. The air is not as “crispy” up here in the Pacific Northwest as is usually associated with the season, but still, I like it. And with the change in season, comes a change in my creative mood. Invariably, I turn to yarn when the weather gets cooler. It must be instinctive. There’s still plenty of cold weather sewing I could be — and need to be — doing, but there’s just something comforting about sitting on the couch with a skein of soft yarn and a hook.

Soft yarn, pretty yarn, little ball of fur

A couple of years ago, I went yarn shopping without my brain and bought several skeins of Lion Brand Homespun yarn in Tudor with the intention of crocheting a sweater. My first problem was succumbing to the temptation of Homespun. Any crocheter who has used this stuff will nod along with me when I say: It’s a pain in the butt to work with. I think it was intended for knitters. The second problem was failure to check the dye lot, so I ended up with a bunch of mismatched yarn. Blah.

Yarn on pegs

In my quest to diminish my yarn stash (so I can buy more!), I decided it was time to get rid of this stuff. It’s pretty and soft, just no fun to crochet. Enter: the knitting board! This was my birthday present last year. It’s super cool! For some reason, I have no inclination to learn how to knit with needles, but this board is really fun to use. Not quite as soft and comfy as just curling up on the couch with nothing but yarn and hook, but it does satisfy my need for yarn crafting.

Still requires a hook

I used a rib stitch on this scarf which I’m going to give to a friend. I still have lots more of the yarn left, so I’m going to make a matching scarf in stockinette stitch for her daughter. And if I still have some left, they’ll get hats, too.

Finished scarf with subtle color changes and lots o' fringe.

And in non-crafty news, the time has come for my family to move. We’ll be heading to a little cabin in the woods this Saturday. In other words, it’s going to be a hectic week and I won’t be back until next Monday. In preparation for our move, I checked out “Little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Ingalls Wilder to read to the girls, hoping it will ease some of the anxiety Granota is feeling. Rana already wants to smoke meat in a hollow log. We’ll see about that. But who knows, I’m feeling inspired by the knowledge base that people had to have just to get through a day. That can be a post for another day. But before that, maybe a few “home decor” ventures as we set up in the new place. Until then… have a good week!

Atrocities in yarn

Take the dang picture already.

Be nice to me, or I might crochet you a tie. Yeah, you heard me. With a matching watch and hat band.


Mom loves me, she loves me not...

Sweetie, now don’t be scared, just hold still while we call somebody to remove all those blue spiders climbing up your sweater.

It's a good thing I'm only 3.

I suppose there are worse yarn crimes to perpetrate on your children (See: spiders, blue), but this is a cute idea gone awry. Are the kids contemplating jumping in that lake and swimming far, far away from the person who made them wear those dorky coats? I know I would.

I’ve got more where these came from. My grandma gave me a 22 volume set (missing volumes 1 and 11…) of craft books from the late 60s/early 70s. There are quite a few good ideas in there, but most of those do not involve yarn. How is it that so many yarn creations can go so horribly, horribly wrong? I don’t know, but it makes for good comic fodder.

Toy drop #2 Prepare to die of the cuteness!

Since my sewing machine has been in the shop for the past week, I took the opportunity to make a new toy for The Toy Society. One of these times, I plan on sewing up a little stuffie using scrap fabric (these toys are great stash busters!). This time, though, I crocheted a cute little bunny. The pattern came from the September/October 1988 issue of Crochet World. No, I did not subscribe to craft magazines when I was 10. Last December I was the recipient of an old woman’s collection of crochet magazines and patterns. It has been a lot of fun to sift through. There are some cute baby layette patterns, adorable animals, and horrifying examples of why crochet should have skipped the 80s.

It's a MESH PULLOVER! With dripping triangles! And beads! WHY?!

This bunny pattern was a winner, though. I used a soft grey yarn that I had in my stash. I think I originally bought it with the intention of making a purse, but the USS Motivation had long since sailed on that project. The softness was perfect for a little rabbit. I finished him up on Friday night. His eyes went through several incarnations before I finally settled on this sweet look.

Bunny rabbit!

Saturday, my family and I went to Pike Place Market in Seattle to meet up with some friends and I took the little bunny along with me. It’s such a busy, active place, I knew he wouldn’t languish for long before someone found him. The trick was placing him without anyone seeing! Mr. Gren pointed out this street sign that conveniently had a bolt protruding from the side, just right for looping the string over and it was in a great location with lots of foot traffic.

Small bunny in a big city

Bunny in a bag and Rana's hair

After hanging up the bunny and letting the girls bid it farewell (they fell in love with it as I was making it last week), our whole group moved a few yards away to watch and wait. The first few people who walked by didn’t seem to notice. Then a couple of people leaned in to take a closer look as they passed. Two teenage girls walked right up to it and talked about it briefly before going on. Finally, a woman approached the sign and read the “Take me home! I’m yours!” note through the bag. Without unhooking it from the signpost, she held the bag in her hands and turned it over and over. We laughed a little as we watched and were quietly cheering her on: “Go ahead! You can really take it! It’s ok!” After a full minute of examining the bag and the bunny, the woman finally lifted the bag off the bolt and tucked it under her arm. It turned out that she was the one who was selling the teepees right next to the sign! Mr. Gren said that he had specifically watched her as I hung up the bag and that she hadn’t been looking at that time. Kind of amusing that with all the people passing by, it was the person sitting just six feet away who finally claimed the little rabbit.

You can doooo it!

I think that the next time I drop a toy, I will add to the note something along the lines of “No, really, it’s ok!” The people who actually got close enough to read the note in the bag all seemed to be a little nervous that they might be doing something wrong or that maybe someone had lost the toy. A little reassurance that there’s no catch might help ease the jitters!

My first toy was put up on The Toy Society blog a day or two after I dropped it. If you go here, you’ll see the comment from the finder: ToySociety Drop #1541. How fun! I’m so glad to have brightened someone’s day!

The End!

I joined the Toy Society!

Sometime over a year ago, I came across The Toy Society. It was started by an Australian crafter named Bianca who wanted to bring a little joy to a stranger’s life through the unexpected gift of a toy left in a public place. The whole concept intrigued me and I wanted to be a part of this! I signed up last June to get all the information, and finally, finally I got around to making a toy! This may be a procrastination record. Although, I do plead a little bit of forgetfulness, too. And three children.

A couple of years ago, my mom got me the book 1-2-3 Skein Crochet and these stripey dolls caught my eye.

Aren't they fun?

As patterns go, this really wasn’t difficult, but it did turn out to be a little bit of a pain in the neck. Actually, in the fingers. My hands cramped up so badly making my own stripey doll! It uses a G hook with worsted weight yarn in single crochet. If you don’t crochet and have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s the translation: smallish hook + thick yarn + tight stitches = ouchie. That’s why I didn’t get it done yesterday. My poor hand needed a break! I sewed the little guy together this afternoon.

Yellow, orange, and pink, like Fruit Stripes Gum.

It bugged Rana to no end that I didn’t put a face on this doll. I actually kind of liked it plain; then you can imagine whatever face you want. I prepared the little tag and letter explaining what the toy was about and arranged it all in a ziploc bag. Rana and I scouted out a bus stop on a busy street, but there were already people there. Zut! She suggested that we hide behind a bush until the bus came and picked them up. I thought that might call undue attention to us and proposed just walking halfway down the block and waiting. She conceded, but I think she was still a little disappointed that we didn’t get to sit in a bush.

A few minutes later, the bus came, and we scurried back to the bus stop pole. As I tied the bag onto the pole, I had coaching from Rana: “Hurry! Don’t let anyone see you! There’s cars coming! Get it tied!”

Tied on the bus stop pole. And look! Blue sky!

Toy drop number one! We walked nonchalantly away. Ok, maybe not. We kept turning around to look at it. After dinner we went back by to see whether the stripey doll had been claimed, but alas, he was still hanging from the pole. The wind had blown the bag around against the bus route sign, hiding the “Take Me Home” tag. I repositioned the bag, so hopefully it is obvious that anyone can take it and that it wasn’t just forgotten. Y’know, tied to a bus stop.

I’m also hoping that it doesn’t get thrown away. I think, if we ever use a bus stop again, we’ll choose one without a trash can right there. We will go check in the morning to see what has become of our little stripey friend! I’m already scheming about the next toy to make. I’m thinking a little amigurumi kitty.

If you think this is a cool idea, you ought to check out some of the toys on the Toy Society blog and think about making one of your own to drop!