Making Pretty Ponchos

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Hello my friends and welcome back! I was sick last weekend and completely missed blogging.
Glad to say I am back to feeling like myself again and will be back to crocheting, well, as soon as I put together my annual income and expense sheets for taxes. Not my favorite thing, but not too bad, either, with the help of my lovely computer program that sorts it all out for me. I got a good start on it today already!

I’m happy to show you my latest little project, a darling poncho for a darling little girl, requested by her mother. Ponchos are relatively simple to make, and so cute, as well as quite the fashion now.

It makes me smile as they were all the rage when I was a little child too. I must be getting old if they are back! 🙂

I knew once I calculated the starting chain and increase, the rest would be smooth sailing. I wanted a hdc pattern, not granny stripe, but I love her patterns, so went right to http://www.lemondedesucrette.com/2010/10/13/about-ponchos-and-pattern-d/ to get started.

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I also knew I wanted to avoid tension issues that can occur with using a starting chain, so I reacquainted myself with the foundation half double crochet to begin.

http://www.mooglyblog.com/foundation-half-double-crochet/

I crocheted 72, then joined with a slip stitch, CH 2 and onto round 2.
I marked the halfway point around, to make my increase there and at the join.

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I wanted a bit of texture, so alternated front post half double crochet (fphdc) with regular hdc for a round, then fphdc with bphdc for the next. Makes it a bit chunky; I like it!

Next, into the color changes: I’m imitating a picture– yes, reverse-engineering again– can’t help myself, there are so many cute things to make.

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Again, I wanted something a bit chunky looking, so started some granny striping, skipping the stitches, then making three in one.

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So pretty. A note about granny striping in the round: do be sure to turn your work! My corners began to show signs of the dreaded granny twist…

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Nothing too serious, as I have nearly completed the rows for this little one. If it was going to be larger, we would be having issues, for sure!

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Working away, loving the colors.

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Nearly there, almost time for the dreaded fringe! And then an adventure in pom poms for the tie…

So exciting. 🙂

And I am off.  Back to the grind for me. Happy hooking!

A Little Mermaid Princess

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And now, for something completely different… 🙂

It is birthday season here! Kind of fun, that following the holidays we have two in a row, then one in March, one in April.

I try to make cute cakes for our girls. It doesn’t happen every year…but I learned from my mother, who learned from her mother– hmm, that’s how I learned to crochet, too! I use a cake idea site especially for amateurs, since a professional cake artist, I am not!

Find it here: http://www.coolest-birthday-cakes.com/  Pinterest is just too unrealistic for me, most days. 🙂

This year’s request from baby #4 was “the mermaid on a rock one, please, mommy?” I was happy to comply…though we hit a bit of a snag when she wanted to help…even if she was eight going on nine last week…and had some definite design ideas that may or may not have been practical…apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and all that… 😉

But the end result was sweet, if not award-winning. I’ll include a bit of a how-to, and a few links, if you’d like to give it a go yourself!

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First, a cake mix baked in a glass bowl. I use the Pampered Chef batter bowl; I like that one (pictured back left). Grease and flour it well! It takes a bit longer to bake in the bowl, usually about 45 minutes. I made a marshmallow fondant for the tail, so much cheaper than the regular stuff!

For the recipes– marshmallow fondant and cake decorator icing– see here: https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/spring-longing/

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Grey for the rock, blue for waves, pink for the tail. I had fun with my decorator tips, haven’t had those out in a while!

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Added some fins…

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Went a shade darker with the pink to add some trim.

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Now the green for seaweed and leaves:

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I’m not too particular as long as the kids like it. Frosting is too changeable for my taste…sweet and such a variety in consistency!

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I do detest clean-up…the oil from the shortening never fully washes. In fact the tubes of frosting are still sitting in my fridge a week later. We will use them to decorate some cookies before I finally break down and scrub them out. At least the bags are disposable! Washing the tips out is bad enough. 🙂

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A view or two of her pretty flower in the hair:

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A little sea weed, anyone? 🙂

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On another note, I finally replaced my favorite orange tennies. I’ve enjoyed featuring them in crochet shots from time to time, and now they are due to retire. I used a little Christmas money to buy a new pair, black this time. Not quite as much fun, but ah well, that’s what they had at the store.

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May you have a marvelous evening! I am excited to pick up my hook for the first time in over a week. If I can stay awake…I hope to start a gorgeous cardigan.

Finished Fabulous Flowers

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She’s done, she’s done!
I managed to complete an actual afghan…it hasn’t been that long– I did the Hawaiian Volcano not that long ago– but it feels like ages…
I even finished in time to gift it for Christmas. Pretty sure that hasn’t happened before. 😀

And here she is, The African Queen. She ended up too large to fit her all in one photo!

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My sweet friend loved it.
To see her from the beginning, start here: https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/protea-or-osteospermum-the-lovey-african-flower/

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It is so soft and pretty (and washable!) May it bring her many hours of warmth and comfort. ☺

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More to come …on birthday cakes …and then, a new project!

Happy hooking!