Sweet Monkey Business

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Today’s post feature another one of my favorite projects: an amigurumi.
Thanks to the great free patterns available on the internet, making your own crochet stuffed animals can be a breeze!

I had a custom design request for a little monkey to match  a sweet girl’s bedroom. Her grandmother had a Sparkly Toad creation for each of her other grandchildren, so of course she needed a gift for this child as well.

I love repeat business!

And I love crochet design, as you know. 🙂
Pinks and greens were the colors, so I choose some of my favorites from my stash and set to work.

All the parts disassembled make me feel a bit like Frankenstein…In a good way!

Once I passed a quiet afternoon in sewing, she was ready for her pictures.

I felt a little something extra was needed…So I added a sweet flower embellishment.

She is my own original pattern…I used my long-legged giraffe and a dragon head…Caron Simply Soft and an E hook (3.5mm)
There are several free patterns on Ravelry for long-legged amigurumi that have been published since I designed mine, or you may use the design I used for my original inspiration, found here:

http://www.yarnspirations.com/patterns/one-skein-bunny.html

I found this pattern came out too big for my liking, so reduced the stitches to make it smaller for my original giraffe. That one was made with Red Heart and an H hook, so this one is even smaller than those made with the heavier worsted weight yarn.

 And there she is. The little girl loved her.

And that is why I do what I do. 
Happy hooking!

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That Winter Chill

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Don’t you just love the New Year? 

My distaste for monotony thrills to the idea of a fresh start.

I’ve tidied, purged, sorted and organized to my heart’s content these last few weeks. In between all my usual tasks, of course!

I had heard about the project I am sharing with you today before, but hadn’t considered making one, for several reasons. As you know, I have plenty of WIPs (work-in-progress) as it is!

But after I saw all the fun links and ideas in one of my many crochet Facebook groups, I had to make one too. 🙂

The basic premise of a temperature blanket is this: you crochet a row a day, basing the color of the row on that day’s temperature.

You can immediately see my issue: I’m not the sort of person that can do ANYTHING once a day for a year…Goodness! And only one row at a time? No, thanks! And how to remember to record the daily temperature? And do you write the high or low? And which color chart should I choose?

So how do you plan a project when the rules don’t work for you? Why, you break the rules, of course. 🙂

First, I needed a color chart. A quick Google image search revealed many options. I surveyed a few and created my own color/temperature key.

Then I chose my pallette. That’s my favorite part!

There are some fun websites available to help you with temperature readings. I used this one:

http://weatherghansite.azurewebsites.net

At first I thought it didn’t work…You have to click on “see more”, or something like that…After you enter your country and date range. The neat thing about this site is you can make a blanket for any year! Several people were making the a “birth year temperature” afghan for a child. What a lovely idea. 

There are also plenty of patterns to choose from. I fell in love with this one, from the Crochet Crowd:

http://thecrochetcrowd.com/spectrum-afghan-pattern/
Now, where to start? Since I began on the 4th day of January, I was in a quandary. I wanted to crochet a lot of my blanket! Not just four rows…

I thought back over the past year. We had an especially nice November, lots of lovely warm days. Cheery yellow would be just the color to start my blanket. And so I did!

I was eager to see how the first few rows came along. I crocheted six weeks in one sitting.

You can see how quickly the chill moved in! Lots of purple in my future, with a bit of blue.

I have no illusions about completion. One oft-mentioned issue with these blankets is that they become very skinny and long! 

I went with  starting chain of 153. When it is as long as I like, I’ll stop. 🙂 I’m quite curious how many months that will be!

I’ve several orders to finish in the next few days, but I eagerly look forward to making more progress on this one.

Happy hooking!

Jingly the Christmas Elf

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I’m always so pleasantly surprised when a project turns out. You would think I might have more confidence in my skill at this point, wouldn’t you? Ah, but you haven’t seen the totes-full-of-failures in my basement, now have you? This blog is a bit like Facebook, just the best ten percent of my successful work.And here is today’s featur:e

My darling girl said we needed an elf. I’ll save my anti-Santa rant and dislike of the threatening-repeating parent (cf. Love n Logic) for another blog, or even another lifetime…Let’s just say our elf is NOT a spy. 🙂

So the elf. We perused Amazon, Pinterest (holy hilarious antics!) and, as usual, I found my answer on ravelry. Love that site.

Here’s the pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/elf-on-the-shelf

I thought PINK, but my sweet girl wanted red. So it began.

Fortunately, I had some cute colored eyes left over from an Etsy order I placed eons ago! I really like the blue.

We began the hair.

One of my favorite parts of the pattern is the white picot collar! I decided to use it on the hat also, instead of leaving it plain.

Added a little pink mouth, and began to sew…I used a needle to separate the strands of yarn and give her pretty curly locks.

Decided I REALLY liked the picot collar and added trim to the sleeves as well. 🙂

Then, she sat in waiting for a week or two. It gets busy this time of year!

Finally, I found the time, and motivation, to stitch on those cute, skinny arms and legs.

And she was darling!

At my daughter’s request, I even found time to make her a little baby elf friend. 

The hair is a bit comical, and she didn’t like the eyes, so perhaps I will redo those…

But still, cute n all!

Have a blessed week-before-Christmas, and may you be surrounded by much love, now and always.

Happy hooking!

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?) 🙂 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! 😀 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. 🙂

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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!

Foxy

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Hello, and happy Friday!
It’s been a busy, cold couple weeks around here, but today the sun is shining and the snow is melting with glorious speed in our fifty degree heat wave.
I’ve already been out walking three times!

Now to share my latest project:
Mr. Fox

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Since it has recently been Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t resist playing with the hood a bit. 😉

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With the changes in child car seat regulations due to updated research, little ones are safer without a coat while buckled in. That poses a problem during our chilly winters!

One clever solution is a poncho type garment, with side buttons for ease of use.

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In the car seat, the child can be buckled underneath the garment, and still stay nice and toasty!

It was quite simple to make. Two squares, one for the front and one for the back, and a rectangle sewn for the hood. 🙂

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I used two strands of worsted and a J hook to make it nice and warm.

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I like the ridged look of half double crochet in the back loops, so that’s what I used for my pieces. Add two ears, and a little fun fur, and off we go!

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Happy hooking!

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!