Round to Square

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Ah , fall. You were nice while you lasted. I think it was about 36 hours.

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Now we are drowning in rain (again), trying to be thankful the temperature is above freezing.

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I’ve nearly given up that I will ever crochet again. It is a very different season from the one in which this blog began. But I found a few spare hours recently, and once again lost myself in making something beautiful.

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Here is the free pattern:

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/flowers-in-the-snow

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I love using up scraps almost as much as I love burst after burst of glorious color.

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This one shall be for me.

When I finish it someday. 😉

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Happy crocheting!

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Time

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Today’s post is more announcement than crochet.

It has been a banner season for the ‘Toad. A good one. And after a flurry of activity, growth and profit, what is a business owner to do?

A bit of a rest is in order.

The well of creativity is run nearly dry. A brief sabbatical will fix that right up!

So the ‘Toad will be on hiatus pending several factors.

First, I shall treat myself to several neglected personal projects.

My 2017 Weather Afghan:

2) Several Sophie’s Universe

3) And something with these beauties

I shall begin at least one new project– probably more! 🙂

And finish a few special requests for friends, as gifts.

Last, but not least,

I shall reflect upon and evaluate the nature of my business.

Creativity, or profit? Design or production? Will I finally publish a few patterns? Or perhaps take the blog a new direction? We shall see!

Happy crocheting!

Let it snow. ❤

New and Old

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I think I can breathe again.

Holiday madness (both work and at home) gave way to birthday festivities for two of four children and the gaggle of teens has just left the building…

My few hours of quiet are welcome. I thought they might never return. 🙂

Goodness knows we all need a bit of quiet and time of reflection; what better way to ring in the new?

New year, new hopes, new possibilities…

It was a good year here at the ‘Toad! Business gained traction and I learned new skills, gained many happy customers and found time to enjoy my day-job and family as well.

So here we are…the year in pictures. ❤

*Note: pattern links are not included. Many of my items are reverse-engineered, meaning I looked at a picture and made up the pattern myself. Photo captions include the necessary key words to Google a similar pattern, if you would like to make your own!

January

V-stitch hat

Virus shawl blanket

Temperature blanket

Baby Snowman hat

February

Beginning the Viking (had to design my own horns!)

The mermaid tail

Bumblebee baby gifts

Chromium star

The car blanket

More Viking…the beard

And the helmet

March

Pink monkey

Finished the Chromium star

April- no crochet 🙂

May

Started the little lion ripple

The sea turtle afghan

Beautiful shells for a sweet baby boy

And finished the Viking!

June

Created the little lion

Finished the sea turtles

And the ripple

And a baby fox set

July

A granny hexie of scrap yarn for me

Family items that needed repair

August

Twinkle Toes the unicorn

And a long-legged cat

September

An elephant teether

Candy corn hat

Infant pretties

A toy elephant

Hats for the bazaar

And another lion, so cute!

October

Monkey legs

Monster hats

Finished product!

More hats for the bazaar

A little pumpkin

Phew! Nearly there…

November

A little leaf for the pumpkin

A Christmas tree skirt

December

Monkey hat!

Kitty and a panda

Pastel monkeys

V-stitch bun hat

A Labrador retriever

And a baby white-tailed deer set with removable ruffle and bow ❤

Well, that’s a wrap, folks! How nice to see the year in review, as I often feel I haven’t accomplished much crochet time. I’d best get to work, as I have more monkeys to make!

A blessed New Year to you, and happy crocheting. ❤

From Turkeys to Reindeer

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I love Christmas.

Everywhere I look, the world has turned itself inside-out to decorate in honor of our savior’s birth. I love the music. The lights. The stories.

When I was a child, it could never come fast enough. Now it seems so short.

Blink, and we’ve gone from August to December with a major holiday per month. Goodness!

So it is with a little sadness I pack up my turkeys.

And break out the Christmas cheer!

Though I still have several holiday orders pending, I indulged myself in a day of rest– and crochet design– over the long weekend.

Inspired by an overload of classic Christmas movies, I found myself compelled to make something, anything, holiday-ish while putting my feet up one evening off. Pre-Thanksgiving grocery retail is no joke!

I found some reds and greens, a little gold, and a picture on Pinterest that suited my mood exactly, so away I went!

I started with red pentagons.

Joining as I went, because who likes sewing when you can crochet instead?

The increase and decrease was tricky! But I managed. It would need some tweaking to fly as an actual pattern, but not bad for a from-scratch first attempt.

V-stitch decrease on the inside and a granny-stripe ripple on the outer rings.

And then there was this cutie on the infamous lap.

Happy holidays from my family to yours. May your table and hearts be full. ❤

The Messy Bun Hat

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Brrr! The temperature has dropped with a vengeance but the sun is shining bright.

The most recent snowfall has left us looking marshmallow-topped and sparkling under said sun.

This week’s blog is a project less than twenty-four hours old, and includes a free pattern! Pretty good turnaround, considering the timeline of most of my work. 😂

A sweet friend posted to my timeline yesterday and asked if I could make her the hat that is all the rage right now– it has a hole at the top for your hair and is much sought-after by those blessed thick-haired creatures of the north.

I checked out a dozen free patterns on the web, and at least as many pics, and decided to just try my own thing.

Any hat pattern could work, you would just make a ring and start about the third round.

You can use an elastic band to crochet over for the first stitches, or chain a ring and crochet around.

I used about 20 chains to get the diameter opening I was looking for.

Bulky yarn #5 and a 9mm hook

Here it is:

The Sparkly Toad Messy Bun Hat Pattern

Ch 20, join with sl st 

Rnd 1: make 24 hdc in ring, ch 1.

Rnd 2: crocheting BETWEEN each st, make 2 hdc between each st around. Join w sl st to first hdc, (24 vStitches made)

Rnd 3: ch 2, crochet 1 hdc in same st as join (counts as first v stitch). Make 2 hdc in each v stitch around. Join with sl st to center of first v stitch.

Continue to just short of desired length (I made about 12 rounds), then make two rows of alternating fpdc and bpdc to create ribbed edge.

My friend was thrilled! It fit perfectly and the blue and rust are her colors. 🙂 

The first few rounds started out pretty full and wobbly but it evened out nicely as I crocheted down. 

Her wonderful hubby took this pic for me:

Made last night and delivered this morning. ❤

If only all my project went this well. 🙂

Happy hooking!

Just Horsing Around, Part II

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It’s been a busy few weeks! Spring is in full swing here, and just lovely.

I’ve finished the horse scarf! A fun, well-written pattern.
Find it here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/horsin-around-scarf

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Here he is, before mane and tail.

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And after! Fun, fun.

I was concerned about the level of difficulty, and assembly; I can never seem to get things sewn evenly. Fortunately it went well!

I did sew the white face accent on upside down at first…thankfully it came off cleanly and I was able to remove it without damaging the stitches underneath!

As a reward for completing this order, I treated myself and returned to an old favorite, my sunburst scrap-ghan.

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She’s been sitting on my shelf for what, two years now?
Yep.
See her start here: https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/snow-bound-stash-busting/

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Evening pictures, sorry…but here is a great shot of the join as you go technique I’m using. I do it a little differently, inspired by this post: https://babylovebrand.net/2013/08/27/continuous-join-as-you-go-again/

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I now have two sections of four (by ten) rows finished and a third piece with two rows joined!
Time to make more circles. 🙂
Contented sigh. Crocheted loveliness.

May all your joins lay smoothly and your families be peaceful and blessed.
Until next time!

Oh, Nativity

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Hello and Happy…!

I know that I promised you a mini-stocking this week.

But I gave them all away and forgot to take a picture. My hope is to make more, and do a cute photo shoot– but it IS Christmas week and I will have to see how the time goes.

In the meantime, my husband and I ran away to our favorite BnB (bed and breakfast) this week for a little RnR (rest and relaxation). 🙂  I have found that a short get-away significantly increases my enjoyment of the holiday season and finds me much more peaceful during the inevitable stress and family squabbles.

We had a fabulous twenty-four hours, and capped it off with a little antique-ing, browsing several local shops and enjoying the time spent.

And I found something so marvelous! I entreated my sweet husband to capture it on film so I could share it with you. Well, digital, anyway, since he has a smart phone…

The most fabulous crochet nativity! And in such colorful thread…I love nativities, and every year I browse patterns and consider making one. I haven’t found the time yet, but one of these years…

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I had him take several close-ups so that I can reverse-engineer the patterns. I love Mary’s braids!

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I think the angel is my favorite. I love angels.

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A detailed close-up of the angel halo and wing. A simple wagon wheel and shell.

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And the sweet babe, wrapped in a solid granny square, on a double granny cushion.

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Not crochet-related, I also had him capture the lovely embroidery on this old lampshade. I often add a bit of sewing detail to my projects.

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And last but not least, the special project I have been working on instead of making more mini-stockings– a last-minute request for a one-of-a-kind Christmas dress for a real-live little angel.

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I used this Bernat pattern as a base

http://www.yarnspirations.com/patterns/i-heart-my-dress.html

but worsted-weight yarn (Caron Sparkle) and an H hook (5mm). Since the pattern called for an E hook and sport-weight yarn, it ended up coming out as a size 18-24 months when I followed the instructions for the 6 month size. Perfect!

For the trim (hem and sleeves), I used the edging found here:

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/mais-oui/

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I also made the flower pattern listed in the blog above for the accent rose. I gave it a Christmas-y twist by chaining 2 or 3 stitches mid-petal (3hdc, ch-2, 3hdc) for example. This made the petals a bit pointy, more like a poinsettia.

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I can’t wait to see pictures of her in it! I love making dresses.

May you have a blessed Christmas, and be surrounded by love, regardless of circumstances. I am grateful for the Babe that came.

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Until then, happy hooking!