May The Force– free lightsaber pattern

Standard

It is rare to get a new pattern right on the first try! But always fun. Sci-fi fan that I am, albeit a closet one, when I saw the crocheted light-saber online last week, I knew I had to have a go at THAT!
image

My dear friend has a little boy that would love one. Being a boy, I knew the cardboard tube I planned to insert for stiffness wouldn’t last long during battles, requiring it to be “reloadable”– or allow for inserting fresh cardboard. So the handle is hinged, with a button attatchment!

image

And it came together so nicely. No frogging required! It was a nice change from the hat pattern I slaved over earlier this week…seven attempts at the first dozen rows and it STILL didn’t lay nicely.

Here she is:

CROCHETED LIGHT-SABER

*Note: I prefer half-double crochet. One of my many quirks. This pattern can EASILY be converted to using single or double crochet if you prefer, so I have included measurements, as well as stitch counts.

Crochet hook: 5mm
Worsted weight yarn

Circle Tip (end of saber)

In color of choice, ch 2 (counts as first hdc)
Rnd 1: 8 hdc in 1st ch, join. 9 hdc
Rnd 2: ch 2, hdc two times in ea st around. 18 hdc– 1.5 inches

Cylinder Sides

Hdc around for 18 st, working in back loops only. Do not join.
Working in both loops, continue to hdc around until saber measures approximately 11 inches long.
image

Handle

Rnd 1: Changing to black, hdc in each st around (18 st). Join. Ch 2.
Rnd 2: hdc around in BACK loops only. Join last st to first with sl st. Then sl st back one row, under first front loop from rnd 1. Ch 1.

Rim: working in Rnd 1 again, two hdc in ea front lp around. Join.
image

Button-holes: ch 5, sl st in 1st ch to make loop. Sl st in next 3 st of rnd 2. Repeat ch 5, sl st to make second loop. Finish off.
image

Second handle piece: make as circle tip and cylinder sides of light saber, using black. Crochet in continuous rounds to about 2 inches long.

Whipstitch pieces of handle together, leaving a quarter to a third of it open. Sew buttons in place to fit loops.

Insert cardboard tube of desired length (I taped together a toilet tissue tube and one from a roll of paper towels and was just about perfect!) and fasten buttons. Give to child of choice, or display proudly on mantel.

Replace cardboard tube as needed. Enjoy! 🙂

image

image

image

image

May the Force be with you. 🙂
image

Cake Style– Rocking the Eighties

Standard

It was a bittersweet week. The dark, long winter days are nearly over.  The clocks have sprung ahead. The first day of spring arrived– at least on the calendar, as we did have snow last night, hopefully for the last time this season. Soon the rush of summer will be upon us.

I can be a little thoughtless about birthdays. I didn’t used to be. It is one of several things I let go when I left my pursuit of perfectionism. Too much pressure to have fabulous, expensive parties. So now we just eat a little cake. And maybe give a gift.

But the Sweet Sixteen is special. It snuck up on me a bit, but still, we managed to pull it off. Two parties– a dinner and a dessert reception, diamond earrings, and a converse tennis shoe- themed decor. 🙂

How to make cake look like a sneaker…
image

My attempt at pink camoflage cake batter in a 9×13 pan.
image

Cutting and stacking.
image

Carved and crumb-coated.
image

Marshmallow fondant.
image

Trimmed and water-spritzed.
image

Trim and frosting laces.
image

Voila. Sneaker cake! Pinterest was a great help, and fondant makes everything easier.

I couldn’t help adding cookies on a stick to make it just that much more festive.
image

It was a lovely party.

And so fitting that our vivacious eldest was born on the first day of spring. She is a constant delight, a breath of fresh air in our lives.

Happy spring!

image

Little Star Afghan

Standard

I have been a bit naughty lately…quite a few pending crochet orders sitting here, and instead, I find myself doing other things that stir my creative juices. Like this weekend…

My youngest had a tiny tummy bug early Sunday, no church service for her! It was rather nice to snuggle in front of the tv instead…her film of choice for the morning? Her new dvd, American Girl Doll McKenna (the gymnastics one).  Halfway through, we were inspired to make her a STAR blanket, based on the necklace in the movie. I knew I had seen a pattern for one…

A quick google search was all it took. The result was fabulous, and she was thrilled. Great instructions, easy to follow and really quick to make. Enjoy!

image

image

image

Pattern? Here it is:
http://www.angelfire.com/va3/heartfeltangels/littlestarafghan.html

And just for fun, a shot of the photo shoot. We had several older children here that day, and they enjoyed helping me set up. Teaching marketable job skills, that’s me!

image

Another daughter has requested one in pastels…so pretty! Hoping to start today.

Happy hooking!
image

Family Fun– Going Up!

Standard

Just one nice day so far…out of the last ten or so…the temperature has been hovering right around freezing, despite our longings for spring! Projects help to keep us busy, for certain.

One of our neighbors offered us a loft bed she no longer needed. At first I dismissed the idea, since most days I feel a bit overcrowded with furniture as it is! Six seats at the table, six in the family room, six beds, six dressers…books, toys, craft supplies…the house seemed larger when we moved in three people ago. 🙂

But the loft bed, as I was saying…my second daughter took a liking to the idea, and her father gave the go-ahead. Just one obstacle left: it was a fire-engine red, and her room is the colors of the seashore– gentle aqua, cliffbank brown and golden sand. The red must go. And I am a busy mama, with no time to paint in the foreseeable future.

But then we had our one glorious spring day, and I said they might have a go at it while I did a few things. I made sure they all had old clothes on, and sent them out!

Bed-Painting, Take 1:
image

Then my poor husband called and pointed out we have plenty of tarps, after seeing the picture online of his poor garage floor…

Bed-Painting, Take 2:
image

They missed a few spots, to be sure, but overall did pretty well. Daddy and I set it up over the weekend, to their delight.
image

That remaining red triangle makes me laugh! I’ll paint it when I get a chance…once it is warm enough to open windows! One of my favorite things about being a mother of four is how relaxed I have become. Children bring such clarity to life– they remind me constantly of my actual priorites, and regularly humiliate me out of my foolish pride in appearance! They bring such joy and truth to life.
image

Here’s a shot of our one spring day! Snowing again now, but the weather will turn soon, we hope!
image

Shamrock-a-licious

Standard

Holidays are irresistable to the avid crocheter. The sky’s the limit when it comes to designing your own holiday wear.

Here are my St. Paddy’s Day favorites:

1. The Shamrock- like other traditional shapes, the four-leaf clover has its challenges. I prefer my appliques to have nice definition, and I do a lot of baby items, so I need a smaller option.

Here are my two top picks:
image

http://www.niftynnifer.com/2014/03/free-lucky-shamrock-four-4-leaf-clover.html

And the tiny ones:
http://www.theexperimentalhome.com/luck-make-tiny-crocheted-four-leaf-clover/

2. The Leprechaun! Amigurumi never ceases to amaze me. The search results for this one blew my mind. Here is an adorable free pattern from Red Heart.
image

http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/kitrick-leprechaun

3. Irish lace
Irish crochet is on my To-Learn list. Here is a pretty beaded doily that brings that to mind.
image

http://www.momsloveofcrochet.com/ShamrockDoily.html

4. The Beard Hat
These are so funny! An Irish top hat and red beard make it seasonally appropriate.
image

I have yet to find a free pattern for these…maybe I’ll write my own. I made one a couple weeks ago and it turned out on the first try!

5. And a couple more spring designs I love…just for fun. Add a shamrock, if you like! 🙂
image

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sweet-baby-hoodie

image

http://www.garnstudio.com/lang/us/pattern.php?id=5983&lang=us

There we are. Just in time for the holiday. Irish blessings to ya!
http://www.crochetspot.com/crochet-pattern-four-leaf-clover/

image

Spring Stripe Satchel

Standard

I have a current love affair with containers. Who doesn’t love a pretty storage space? And now with the advent of Pinterest I can browse designs and dream of spaces I’d never have imagined.

I had a wonderful dilemma yesterday. The weather was glorious! Yes, glorious! Last week we were barely hanging onto our sanity, housebound as we were. Then came a single day of spring, and we packed a season’s worth of adventure in!

So my tiny problem…

I have officially transitioned to taking most of my photographs with my tablet, instead of our family camera. With the advent of warmer weather, I need some way to port it around town, secure but hands-free.

I have been wishing to make a little something for myself, too, after a long winter of orders. And I love bags. Handbags, purses, knapsacks, drawstring satchels, messenger bags– I love them!

definition of satchel

So to celebrate (hopefully) the beginnings of warmer weather, I began a messenger satchel for my essentials when we go gadding about and am delighted to share the first part with you today!

Spring Stripe Satchel Messenger Bag

Worsted weight acrylic
H hook, 5mm

Ch 80, turn
*Note: for a firmer texture, insert hook BETWEEN each st, instead of under the top v
Row 1: Ch 2, hdc across, turn (80 st)
Rows 2-5: repeat row 1

image

Now for the fun part! Using any color…
Row 6: hdc, ch 1, skip next st, across

Here is a picture of what the first row (of color) looks like:
image

Rows 7-9: repeat row 6, changing color each row
*Note: in row 7-9, hdc in ch-1 sp from previous row AND insert hook through back loop of row below that to create firmer weave.

image

Here is a chart, if you like. It is written in sc, so I simply substituted hdc. I have seen this called both the Moss Stitch and the Linen Stitch.
image

Repeat pattern to desired height. I plan to make my bag about 14×17 inches, so my rectangle will be 28×17 inches when worked. Only six inches to go!

image

Now, for sewing up the side and attaching the handle…if you’d like to forge ahead, feel free to use your imagnation. Otherwise we will continue next time, with a pretty striped handle and some fun spring embroidery and appliques.

image

Happy crocheting!

image

Sweet Little Bootie Mary Janes

Standard

I may have mentioned before 😉 that I am a bit PICKY. Among other things, crochet baby shoes have been my nemesis. I simply haven’t been able to find the perfect pattern. Some take too long, or are for the wrong weight yarn, and the rest are just ugly! I should probably give in and purchase a few patterns. I have been attempting to make my own for over a year…

But these turned out rather sweet. They are loosely based on a pattern I found online that no longer seems to exist. Thankfully I had printed a copy and was able to convert it to my preferred yarn weight and hook size.

Aren’t they darling?
image

Soft Mary Janes
American terms, and I crochet rather loosely, just so you know…

Worsted weight yarn- I used Caron Simply Soft in Ocean
Size H hook, 5.0mm

Note: ch 2 at beg of row does not count as hdc.

Double crochet back post: (dcbp) yarn over hook and draw up a loop around post of next st at back of work inserting hook from right to left. (Yarn over hook and draw through two loops on hook) twice — 1 dcpb made.
Single crochet 2 together: (sc2tog) *insert hook, yarn over and pull through, repeat from * in next st, keeping loops on hook, yarn over and pull through three loops on hook.

Ch 14.
Row 1: 2 sc in 2nd ch from hook. 1sc in each of next 3 ch. 2 sc in each of  next 2 ch. 1 sc in next ch (place marker on last st). 2 sc in each of next 2 ch. 1 sc in each of next 3 ch. 2 sc in last ch. 19 sc. Turn.
Row 2: Ch 1. 2 sc in first sc. 1 sc in each sc to 2 sc before marked sc. 2 sc in each of next 2 sc. 1 sc in marked sc. 2 sc in each of next 2 sc. 1 sc in each sc to last sc. 2 sc in last sc. 25 st. Turn.
Row 3: repeat row 2
Row 4: Ch 2. 1 hdc in each sc to end of row. Turn.
Row 5: Ch 2. 1 hdc in first st. 1 dcbp in next st. Repeat to end of row.
Row 6: Ch 1. Sc in first 8 st. Sc2tog 7 times. Sc in last nine st.
Row 7: Ch 1. Sc in first 8 st. Sc2tog 4 times. Sc to end of row. Finish off, leaving long tail for sewing.

Strap: ch 9. Turn. Starting in 2nd ch from hook, hdc to end. 7 hdc.

Sew up sole and back of shoe. Sew strap to either side of shoe.

image

100% washable, super soft and super cute baby shoes! Voila!