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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All about hats

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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. πŸ™‚

Happy hooking! Until we meet again!

Pretty Pretty Baby Cardi

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Hello and happy weekend!

I hadn’t a minute to spare for weeks. Then, after careful list-making, diligent stick-to-it-ive-ness and just plain hard work, I finished the rest of my must-do’s in time for a few blissful hours of crochet.

Such a sweet reward for my efforts.

I had left off working on a baby cardigan when I crocheted last. Round yoke, pretty lacy look, free pattern here: http://www.justcrochet.com/pretty-coat-usa.html

I had my usual issues with the pattern, yarn weight (called for sport/dk and I prefer worsted) and tension (goodness, must my stitches be twice as large as the average every time?) πŸ™‚ Fiber art problems…

My first attempts at the collar turned out lovely, but huge, and stiff. Time for a larger hook to keep the yarn soft! And pattern alterations to reduce the size…

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Adding a little pink as I arrived at the shell skirt portion of the cardi.

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Lovely, but entirely unsuitable.

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My second attempt, using just 30 stitches to start, and increasing every stitch — it curled so much it looked like a flower! πŸ˜€ Definitely too many stitches in that second row!

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My third attempt looked promising.

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But a little too wing-ed. I pulled out the last two rows and recalculated my sleeve  divisions. So excited I mastered that formula! Divide by six then add two for the back…I’ll have to explain that better in a future blog. πŸ™‚

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Such a pretty shell and v-stitch pattern from http://www.justcrochet.com/pretty-coat-usa.html

I will be using it again! It would make a pretty matching hat, too.

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This yarn is delicious! Lion Brand Ice Cream in cookies and cream. ❀

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The self-striping color work came out nicely for the skirt, but gave me a time when it came to the sleeves! I ended up cutting after a few rows, switching back and forth between sleeves until they came out even.

Success! A pretty little flower for a pop of color and I have the perfect sweet baby gift.

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The larger hook size kept the yarn snuggly soft: 5mm was the magic size for me.

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So pretty and sweet. Now to play with my starting chain length and make one in
a larger size. This one is about 0-3 months.

Happy hooking!

The Matching Hat

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Hello and happy weekend! Remember the lovely dress and my promise of the soon–to-be-coming hat pattern to match?

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I have that hat pattern for you today! :mrgreen:

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Thankfully it worked up the way I remembered, so I quickly jotted down my notes.
It is for a size 6-12 months, worsted weight yarn and a 5mm hook and matches the sweet dress pattern found here:
https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/mais-oui/

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Hat to Match the French Popover Smock
Rnd 1: Chain 3, DC 10x in chain furthest from hook. SL St into top of CH 3. (11 St)
Rnd 2: CH 4 (counts as first DC, CH 1), then DC, CH 1 between each  St around. Sl st to join at 3rd CH of starting CH 4. (11dc, CH 1)
Rnd 3: SL St to next CH 1 space. CH 3, DC, CH 1 in CH space, then 2dc, CH 1 in each CH space around. SL St to join at top of CH 3.
Rnd 4: SL st to CH 1sp, CH 4 (counts as dc, CH 1 of first v-stitch), then DC again in same St. (V-stitch made). Make DC between 2dc of previous round. *Make v-stitch (DC, CH 1, DC) in next ch 1 space, then DC between 2dc from round 3. Repeat from * around, join with SL St the 3rd CH of beginning CH 4.
Rnd 5: SL St to CH 1space, CH 3 for first DC, then DC, CH 2 2dc to make first shell. Make shell (2dc, CH 2, 2dc) in each CH 1 space around. Join with SL St to top of CH 3.
Rnd 6-9: repeat round 5.
Rnd 10: make 8dc in each CH 2 SP around, SC-ing between each shell from Rnd 9.
Finish off, weave ends.

For flower, see link above.

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And there you are! I have a dozen crochet projects to get to, and only an hour or so to spare this evening. I wish you happy hooking!

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Off to more crochet adventures I go!

Grrrr, The Irrestistable Tiger Hat

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Hello and Happy Friday!

We interrupt this week’s anticipated post (Circling Lovelies, part 2–Β  which shall appear in some other future πŸ™‚Β  ) to play with tiger awesome-ness!

Summer was drawing to a close, and my darling nephew’s birthday was soon upon us. As he is quite the handsome young man, a hat was just the thing!

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A tiger is sort of his special animal, bestowed upon him by his other grandma…so I was inspired to give it a go.

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I used Sarah’s basic hat pattern (www.repeatcrafterme.com) and alternated two rows of orange with a row of black.

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Nose (and pink in ears) is 10dc in a ring.

Cheeks are 10hdc, then a round of 20 hdc.

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Outer ear is 7 hdc, 3 dc and 7hdc to make it a bit pointy.

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Little Miss Cousin here is pretty sure he will like it! πŸ™‚

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A sneak peek at another work-in-progress started during tiger production. (C2C graphgan featuring Toothless) Heaven only knows when that will get a little more attention…

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And the darling boy sporting his new birthday hat!

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Oh, smooches to his cuteness and love from auntie!

See you next week with more on the lovely Circle of Friends pattern. ❀

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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