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!

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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!

Circling Lovlies, Part II

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I have been distracted by other projects (imagine that!) and neglected to give you the long-promised update on my Circle Of Friends afghan.

It was back in October I first shared with you:

Circling Lovlies with TheSparklyToad

I promised squares from the circles for the very next week…and then I was of on another tangent crochet adventure or two and did not return…until now.IMG_5240

And I have such cheerful news. I bought a little camera!

I have had a nightmare of dead and dying technology around here, that left me nice-new-tablet-, old-used-iPod- and digital-camera-less. Awful!

I prefer us to be a frugal, low-tech family, so I really tried to make a go of it without…but to not be able to take ANY PICTURES AT ALL was really too much for this mother.

It is my eldest’s final year in school, after all. She plans to attend university next fall, and you can imagine how many LAST school things I was longing to capture as we go along.

I caved and bought the camera a few weeks back. I am having a bit of a love-hate relationship with it, as it isn’t as nice as my previous one, and I can’t seem to get the right combination of lighting and shutter — it doesn’t seem to have adjustable speed and the flash is much too harsh. At least to please me…I am a bit particular…

Hopefully I will learn a few tricks. I have yet to read the directions. 🙂 If it turns out to be the camera, not operator-error, well…then perhaps it will be visiting the dustbin!

Now, onto the lovelies…

I just love this pattern, and the satin gloss of the Caron Simply Soft highlights it beautifully. I think I used my E hook (3.5mm) for this one.

If you’d like the free pattern, it is here:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/circle-of-friends-square

I do love Priscilla Hewitt designs. They are always so nice and texture-y, but never too tricky. Just double-crochet and single in this one! Can you believe it?

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Pretty, pretty, pretty.

I bought a half-dozen skeins of light grey for joining. Now to toss around which method to use: flat-braid is a little too fancy, and also too flimsy for these thick, dense squares. Plain double-crochet might be nice, but can I make myself complete that many boringly-same stitches??? Likely not…perhaps granny clusters…or something else I haven’t thought of yet.

I must experiment. How fun!

Off to bed for me, a busy day tomorrow.

Lovely crochet blessings to you.

The Lovely African Flower Afghan, part II

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Hello and happy weekend to you!

Week two of my fabulous new job complete and I am ready for some crochet time! ❤

I showed you the start of my pretty flower blanket last time (if you missed it, see here: https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/protea-or-osteospermum-the-lovey-african-flower/ )

Piles of lovely flowers:

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Adding the contrasting edge…and the beginnings of a layout design…

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I mulled over the possible hexagon pattern design for several weeks before choosing a simple granny hexie. Transitioning from the African flower motif to a circle, square or hexie for joining is NOT easy and I have been foiled before. Often, pattern options look nice on paper but do not lie flat or come out evenly.

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I must have a join-as-you-go motif, too, as my patience is severely limited in the sewing department.

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I am quite pleased with the result, a modified hexie granny of my own design, easy-to-count stitches and easy joining.

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My family appreciates it when I develop crochet projects that do not make me crabby over excessive stitch-counting or joining. 🙂

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All laid out on a big sheet on the floor, no two colors adjacent. Not an easy task! This part is a bit like quilting…you lay it out, then have to keep track of your pattern pieces as you join.

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I stacked mine in order and laid the vertical pile in a box.

Easy to know which was next! The one in front.

 

 

It was an ugly box, or I would have taken a photo. 🙂

The joining is all finished now, and I am working on the borders. More next time!

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In family news, I took my little butterfly to the park this morning for our local festival. ❤

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It is a gorgeous day.

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That, and my computer misbehaving caused a bit of a posting delay, sigh.

I shan’t complain, the dryer died this week and my husband fixed it for $4.33.

For a family of six, a working dryer is no small miracle.

So we are counting our blessings. All of them.

See you next week!

Protea or Osteospermum? The Lovey African Flower

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Hello and happy holiday weekend!

I am rested up form my first exciting week of my new adventure and ready to post! See more about that here:

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/toad-ally-awesome/

And, well, you probably know I love flowers…the colors, that shapes, the incredible beauty and detail…

The crochet African flower is one of my favorite patterns. So may options! Moogly has a dozen fun patterns collected here:

http://www.mooglyblog.com/free-african-flower-patterns/

And if you haven’t seen Heidi Bears ADORABLE amigurumi designs…check those out on ravelry here:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lollo-the-african-flower-bear

Plotting my blog, I was curious. Is the design based on a REAL African flower? The answer seems to be no, but I enjoyed the search! Here is a lovely osteospermum:

And then the African national flower protea, also called sugar-bush:

So pretty! But not much like the crochet pattern.

The African flower pattern lends itself very well to scrap-ghans, using leftover bits to make dozens of flowers. Here’s my first gathering of Caron Simply Soft extras out of my bins.There is little I love more than rummaging through my piles of yarn to make new color combinations. Color makes me happy.

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I like charts better, so I downloaded a handful of those and chose a hexie pattern, to start. If you are in need of a written pattern, here is a good one: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/african-flower-hexagon-crochet-tutorial

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Such pretty little flowers, and they work up quickly.

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Now, how to join?

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Another day, another gathering of colorful half and three-quarter skeins…to make MORE!

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Ooo, found a bit of yellow! That will brighten things up a bit.

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I plan to join them with a pretty white…some sort of lacy border…and edging motif.

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Crochet flowers make me happy.

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More next time! The blanket is nearly finished, but I must pace myself now that I am a working girl. 🙂

This hooker will settle in with her stash and crochet a quiet holiday afternoon away…after I finish my lessons…I hope!

May you have a lovely Monday. ❤

Toad-ally Awesome

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Hello and hello!

Today is rather momentous in our little corner of the world here at The Sparkly Toad.

It is the last of our Tuesday afternoon posts.

I have made a bit of a change, you see. This time next week, I shall wear a different hat.

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You likely know (and appreciate) one or more various mothers, and all that they do. Cook, clean, garden, shop…I’ve often said that as a stay-at-home-mom it would be nice to have a cook, butler, maid and gardener! And let’s not forget chauffeur!

Nearly twenty years of it…it was the toughest job I ever loved. As they say: the days were long, but the years were short.

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And so I embark on an adventure never before seen in our little family…mama is going to work. Not just a job, either…a career!

The only downside (if there is one) is that I must give up my current position as stay-at-home/daycare-providing/homeschooling mom.

As much as I have loved pouring the majority of my time and energy into my family and seeing the excellent results, I am excited to have something new for me! I am going to be a teacher.

A real one. 🙂

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I am not sure I quite believe it yet. I’ve never had a career. And I have yet to determine where the ‘Toad posts fit into my new weekly schedule. I’ve been contemplating it most of the summer…narrowed it down to Sunday, Tuesday or perhaps Friday evening. We’ll see!

I make no promises. It is likely the transition will drain every creative bit of energy out of me for a minimum of six weeks. Or more.

So if you don’t hear from me for a spell, now you know.

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And enough of that. Onto today’s free pattern…

Newborn Frog Hat (Eyes)

With green yarn: 12 dc

In white: 12 hdc

Black button

Sew all three layers together, then attach to hat. It can be a trick to sew pieces together, especially when you want them to stand up. I take large stitches at the base of the eye (or ear) and that seems to do it. I also curve the piece in slightly and sew along it twice, across and then back again.

Hat base: I use Sarah’s basic hat pattern for all my hats. Her pattern can be found here: http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2012/09/crochet-owl-hat-pattern-in-newborn.html

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I love the clarity and simplicity of her patterns. I will warn you, I probably used half-double-crochet, not double crochet on my hat.

I do that without even meaning to.

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I made this set for a friend that was headed out of the country, or perhaps I would have embroidered a pink smile on Mr. Frog. It was a bit of a rush to finish all three pieces before his flight.

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Wishing every blessing on the birth of their upcoming baby…and happy hooking to all of you!

I hope to write again soon. 🙂