Sunny Summer days

Standard

Ah, happy summer. Filled with swimming and sweating, treats and crunching snacks, sibling spats and sudden sweetness and just plain family TIME.

My favorite things.

I’ve crocheted just a little, after a nice long break to regain my bearings and rest my hands and head.

The self-striping mandala yarns –that are all the rage– proved too, too tempting and I found myself the owner of several mismatched shades. Who can resist those glorious colorways?

20170829_124150325174055.jpg

The challenge with one skein is always the dreaded question: but will it be enough?

I promise, with my favorite quick work-ups, it is. For this I used my go-to favorite toddler pattern, the French Popover. Find the link here:

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

I hope you are enjoying our warm days and summer season as well, or whatever your weather may be this time of year. Happy hooking!

20180619_151448

 

Advertisements

Collection of Cuteness

Standard

We finally have some significant snowfall here in the Midwest.

The spirit-breaking cold gave way to a few teaser days of warm (think fifty degrees following two weeks of negative five!) And then 36 hours of light, fluffy, pretty white stuff…

I decorate my home with the cutest little guys after Christmas– snowmen!

Gets me through until spring.

So as a tribute to the fluffy white stuff, here are some darling free patterns to make your own out of yarn. 🙂

Top Five Cutest Snowmen ❤

1. First, a classic from an amazing designer. Excellent free patterns and a multitude of adorable creations. I just love her work.

http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2013/11/crochet-snowman-pattern.html

2. Another great source for free patterns– Amigurumi Today. I made my first amigurumi, a little hippo, from this website. I love this guy’s earmuffs!

https://amigurumi.today/christmas-crochet-free-crochet-snowman-pattern/

3. This next one is so clever. I just love the look of this snowman afghan. What a fun design!

http://www.crochetforyoublog.com/2014/12/crochet-snowman-granny-square-and-blanket-pattern/

4. Or how about this one? A cup cozy! Quick and easy, this makes a fun gift or office accessory.

http://enchanted-ladybug.com/2016/11/free-crochet-snowman-coffee-cup-cozy-pattern.html

5. And finally, a flat one! No, he hasn’t melted, he’s an applique. 🙂 So cute for a blanket, stocking or garland. Also from Repeat Crafter Me…crochet away!

http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2017/11/crochet-snowman.html

I hope you’ve enjoyed our little adventure today! Snuggling on my couch with hook and yarn, watching the snow fall, is my favorite winter past-time.

Happy hooking!

New and Old

Standard

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. ❤

Twinkle Twinkle

Standard

Happy Wednesday!

I don’t know about you, but I just love it when a pattern turns out the first time.

Even better, it’s free!

http://blog.hobbycraft.co.uk/twinkle-toes-the-unicorn-crochet-pattern/

This little guy was a breeze to whip up, and is absolutely darling.

I plan to make at least a dozen more!

***

Gathering my colors, the owner-to-be requested a very specific pallette. 🙂

Just the head finished, but look at that face…

I do love a well-written pattern. No time wasted here!

And a rainbow mane, of course. He is a unicorn, is he not?

Styling tip: I used my yarn needle to separate the strands and create the hair.

And finished.

Off to his forever home with a sweet girl.

My gratitude to the generous designer of this quality, free pattern!

Yarn cuteness. And child joy.

***

Happy hooking!

All about hats

Standard

It’s craft fair season!

Business is booming here at the ‘Toad. Christmas gift orders have arrived in spades, and invites to participate in local booths and holiday bazaars.

Best of all, two nearby gift shops have asked for my work!

As I said, a busy season.

My fingers are churning out as quickly as they can around my already full family schedule. ❤ Best to keep things in order of importance, always.

Sweet, simple hats fit the bill.

Starting with the basic pattern here:

http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2013/01/crochet-bunny-hat-pattern.html

I’ve designed a half dozen cute new hats to fill our local shelves and keep precious small heads warm this winter.

A delicious cluster-stitch variety and v-stitch with removable button flower

Stripey boys hats, a spiral-space design and a pretty puff stitch version

A darling double-crochet with big-button panache and a fpdc, bpdc finish.

And a little something seasonal to finish it off! Pattern coming soon…

Phew, it’s been a busy few weeks. And warm! Cooler temperatures have finally returned and I look forward to my upcoming couch-and-yarn time.

I think this is my favorite. ❤ Until I design the next one. 🙂

Happy hooking! Until we meet again!

Little Grrr

Standard

It has been a month of family time, and little crochet!

July is like that.

And now we are counting down the days til school begins.

I do love fall. But not quite yet.

Today’s project share is my own design! I love custom commission work.

It started with a grandma. And a baby that wasn’t quite here yet. ❤

A lion, she said, and his name would be Leo.

I really couldn’t be more pleased with the results! But I did have a false start at the beginning.

I thought to chain and length and work around both sides in a bit of a rectangle. But it didn’t work the way I wanted, so I referred back to the pattern I was thinking of and started again.

There. A round bottom, that was better. Then I followed the pattern more closely for arms and legs. He worked up quickly.

Sewing them on is always a bit scary: a crooked or backward appendage can mean starting over, ugh!

These came out just right on the first try, happy day!

Now for the fun part, the MANE.

I knew I wanted to try the loop stitch, something I’d seen but hadn’t yet explored. Could I do it? Yes, thanks to YouTube. I found an excellent tutorial and away I went. I soon had a darling cap of curls for my little lion.

The face is another crucial stage. Every stitch affects the end result and expression. I chose a quiet afternoon and formed my design slowly.

Darling!

Now to manage attaching the head to neck. That one is tricky too!

Success! Now where did I put that hair?

Here it is! Sweet little lion. I felt a bit as if I had given birth.

Such a pleasure to create.

If you’ve stuck with me to the end, I’m happy to share the pattern used as a jumping off point! It can be found here, in a previous post:

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2017/02/23/maddys-dragon/

The only thing I changed was the head. I made another bottom instead of a dragon snout, then added a face, hee hee.

And the family was so kind as to send me a picture, once it had been gifted. What a darling boy!

Next week, the matching blanket! It is nice to fall back into routine after a busy, fun-filled summer. Ahhhhhh.

Happy hooking!

giant granny goodness entire

Standard

She is finished!

It’s a nice feeling of accomplishment, when you consider the piles of WIPs everywhere around here… actually completing something…

It started here: 

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/giant-granny-goodness/

And then grew to here:

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/giant-granny-goodness-part-ii/

Inspired by the lovely colorwork of this dear designer:
http://lemondedesucrette.com

She grew, and grew, until it was time to join…

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/flat-braid-joining-technique

And now she graces a place of honor, our marriage bed.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” ~Keats

My color tips:

She started out as a stash-buster, so I used various odds and ends and combined as I liked. After ten rounds, I needed a significant amount for each round, so had more limited options. I also wanted to bring the colors together somehow, without looking too contrived.

So the final five rounds match the first five, in each square. It gave nice continuity but didn’t appear overly planned.

Nothing easier than a granny square! And I love the vintage look.

I used worsted weight yarn and an h hook.

Happy hooking!