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. πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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. ❀

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Bed of Roses I

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I’ve been making the bed!

This lovely, silvery gray is a dream to work with and the photos don’t do it justice. Caron Simply Soft in gray heather and my favorite H5mm hook.

I started with an old pattern I dug up, sc/hdc/DC in each stitch.

It makes a fun texture.

I chained 90 or so to start, and it is just a little blanket, maybe crib or stroller size? Perfect for my new niece, due to arrive in October!

Now to work on the edging…

I am adapting a chart and the corners will be a bit of a trial, I think. We’ll see!

Wish me luck!

The days are hot, but we are nice and cool in our newly repaired air conditioning. And we have spent many a lovely afternoon at the beach! Autumn is breathing down our necks, even if it is ninety degrees during the day.

Happy crocheting!

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. πŸ™‚

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. ❀

Edging the Midwife

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Hello, hello and it is almost here! If you were with us last time, you know that I am embarking on a new adventure this fall…and it officially starts next week! Our classroom is ready and we are so excited for students to arrive.

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In the meantime, I am busy putting as many little organizational tips and tricks into place as I can, to ease my family through this major transition. Meal menus, chore charts and a huge family calendar are in place! I am even planning out my future blogs so as not to neglect my lovely followers. This fall schedule is laid out and ready to go!

Today’s free pattern is a simple little edge. Nothing fancy, but it made me very happy, and I loved the nice, solid feel it gave to the blanket

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The blanket was for a sweet baby boy, soon to arrive…which was perfect, as I had been longing to try this pattern:

http://littlemonkeyscrochet.com/call-the-midwife-inspired-baby-blanket-free-pattern/

When I finished the blanket, which worked up so lovely and quick, it needed a little something. I experimented with several edges and decided on this one:

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It’s reversible!

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To work the edge:

In the stitch below any ch-1 sp, join yarn and chain 3 to start. Slip stitch in the next dc of the previous row (back loop only).

*Dc in the stitch below the chain-1 space, then slip stitch in the dc of the previous row (back loop only). Repeat from * across.

(Dc- sl st- dc- sl st- dc) around each corner.

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The result? A darling peek-a-boo border in any color you like!

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The froggie hat and rattle were a perfect compliment to the set.

See here for tips on how to make the hat: https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/toad-ally-awesome/

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The blanket ended up snuggly-soft and the perfect size for a new little one. I made it small and light as it had to travel by air to its soon-to-be-owner, packed securely in the luggage of the daddy-to-be!

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Up next…the third installment of this series, a photo tutorial for a darling baby-soft rattle toy.

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See you soon! And happy hooking!

Giant Granny Goodness, Part II

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Hello, hello and happy…well, you know. πŸ™‚

My giant grannies are coming along nicely! In fact, I am on a bit of a crochet jag and have started a dozen projects– or more– in recent weeks. Oh, my, I am having fun! And I haven’t skimped on the housework; in fact, I am also on an organizing crusade and attacking areas that have been neglected for, well, maybe years?

I am simply on a color spree: combining, mixing, matching, layouts, rainbows, ombre, triads, contrasts…it is a good thing I have a bit of a container fetish, because my cleaning frenzy means more empty bins to collect my color nonsense and project dreams.

Here’s the one for the grannies, rounds 7-12 or so:

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I tend to be a bit matchy-matchy…so the challenge of putting dissimilar colors adjacent entertains me particularly.

The lovely afternoon sun…my favorite time to crochet.

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A trio of riotous color contrast:

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And the real challenge begins! A preliminary layout:

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The burning question…how many more rounds???

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I like it as is, but it isn’t very afghan-size, yet…only about 3×3.

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Twenty rounds– my original plan– will be too much?

Perhaps fifteen. And then a kitschy border, for certain!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KitschΒ Β Β  πŸ˜‰

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The more garish color to chew, the better! So rainbow-y and satisfying.

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And just for fun– my little crochet-hinderer, below. I was able to complete my latest set of rounds because she went off to the neighbor’s and asked to bake something. πŸ™‚ My sweet neighbor was happy to comply and home she came, several hours later, with yummy chocolate treats to boot. Happy summer!

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An update on another project, too…the edge is finished, and the little gift set sewn!

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For blanket information, see here:

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/baby-victorian-dreams/

And for the dress pattern:

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

Happy day!

Baby Victorian Dreams

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Hello and happy Tuesday!

Something pretty and sweet, this sultry summer July day…

The kidlets are in the pool, splashing and shrieking up a storm.

There is a lovely breeze.

Today’s pretty is a soft, colorful baby blanket for a special someone!

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I have been longing to try this pattern:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/victorian-lattice-square

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I’m using Caron Simply Soft in Blue Mint, Strawberry and Lime with a 3.5mm hook.

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The edging is my own design and NOT quite finished yet. πŸ™‚ I am a bit obsessed with pineapple patterns these days, and based it on that. I have been downloading quite a few doily charts!

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The free pattern for the square includes both the written pattern and a chart (Oh, I love using charts, they are much faster for me).

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Such vibrant colors, and the feel is out-of-this-world soft.

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I may have to make this one again. I love the look of the square.

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For joining, I used the braided join technique– or at least my own twisted version of it! πŸ˜€

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I learned this join while participating in The Crochet Crowd’s Crochet-Along earlier this year:

http://thecrochetcrowd.com/2015-knit-crochet-along-mystery-afghan/

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I see that Moogly has also featured this square recently, on Hookin’ on Hump Day, and another nifty way to join these pretty squares…you can check that out here:

http://www.mooglyblog.com/hohd-98/#more-16604

http://aureliaslittleroom.com/tutorial-simple-joining-square-technique/

Well, it is time for snack, here at home. They are happy to play nicely as long as I feed them. πŸ™‚

May many happy hours of crochet be in your future. ❀

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Baby Boy Brilliance

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Hello, Hello and Happy Tuesday!

Barring the holidays, for us this is the busiest week of the year. Local colleges finish up (making all my student and teacher friends a bit crazy), we have our dance recitals, final church and music programs for the school year…and this year a class trip to the ZOO with grandma, grandpa AND daddy, oh, joy!

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It feels a bit luxurious to have delegated most of it. πŸ˜‰

The eldest can drive herself to rehearsals. The middles can walk to their concert, and choose their own theme outfits, with minimal assistance– it’s a 70’s tribute, I understand.

I just need to make the meals and keep the littles out of trouble. So far, so good.

I am busy on a new project this week– has there been a week yet that I am not!?!Β  πŸ˜‰ My sweet neighbor is having her second baby boy.

I made these hats (and an afghan) for the first one:

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Now a new baby is coming to the same nursery, and big brother has been moved out to his own room…so the same colors, and theme, but certainly we couldn’t do the same blanket!

It’s been a bit since I did a corner-to-corner, and I have seen some LOVELY striping patterns lately. I like the random, varying-width look, but am a bit short on time for dreaming and designing, so stuck with something a little more predictable.

Here is the basic pattern and a video tutorial:

http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/crochet-corner-corner-throw

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Lovely limey green, navy and white. It’s a bit nautical, and very BOY.

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Caron Simply Soft and my favorite 5mm H hook give it a nice soft feel.

Row counts are 5 rows of navy, then 4-2-4 of green/white/green or white/green/white, alternating. Marvelous effect!

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I love the simplicity of working diagonally, although it does make me a bit dizzy at times. πŸ™‚ I have to be careful not to lose my place when turning…

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Such pretty striping. And it worked up rather quickly.

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Just a couple hours to go. I’m thinking of edging in a few rows of single crochet stripes. Or perhaps no border at all. C2C is one of the few afghans that can look better without a border.

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Enjoy your week! Mine will rather fly. Happy hooking. ❀