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). πŸ™‚Β  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!

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A Little Virus

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Hello and happy weekend!

Is it possible that Thanksgiving is just around the corner?

The unseasonably warm weather lends me toward unbelief…even if we did have a major snowstorm predicted for today.

We ended up with a few inches…

I am posting this on an entirely unfamiliar screen, which makes me a bit uncertain…doesn’t WordPress know I am too old to deal with techno-change???

We’ll see how much longer it takes me to blog.

Today shall be the shawls I promised! I must confess, however, that I miscounted…there are four, not three, and one seems to be missing?

No, you may not comment about my many WIPS and that it is likely buried in a pile of yarn! πŸ™‚ I know it all too well…

Shawl #1:

With an H hook (5mm) and RedHeart Unforgettable in Stained Glass

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http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lilys-rose-garden-shawl

The colors are glorious though I am still learning to get along with my new camera…

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This is truly my favorite yarn these days. And a great pattern, so simple, but lovely.

Shawl #2:

A virus. I used a chart googled off the internet, but word-on-the-street is that most folks are following a YouTube video.

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An H hook (5mm) and RedHeart Unforgettable in Echo- a stunning combination of purples and greens that is somehow gray, overall. I love it.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/virus-shawl—virustuch

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And the third, featured previously here:

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/the-perfect-all-hallows-eve/

Shawl #3) The South Bay Shawlette in gorgeous fall colors

I am in a bit of Unforgettable frenzy…I made a special trip to the city a few weeks ago and bought a dozen skeins of color I can’t get in town: Stained Glass, Echo, Sunrise and Polo.

This is Sunrise, with a J hook:

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Pattern here:

http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/90489AD.html?ss=

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The snow is so light and pretty on the black trees and my red berry bushes.

I find myself thankful for a quiet day to tend to hearth and home before the hustle and bustle of the holiday week.

May you be blessed now and always.

 

The Perfect All Hallows’ Eve

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Hello and Happy…Halloween!

The weather is just miserable for trick-or-treating,

and just perfect for crochet!

The moment I am done with this post you will find me snuggled under a pile of blankets with hook in hand. πŸ™‚

And, adding happiness to happiness…

I have a new CAMERA!!! Sqeeeeeeeeeee…

I have despaired of ever hearing back from the tablet repair shop (the third shop I’ve tried, mind you). That optimistic estimate of two days turned into a call a week later– us to them, not the other way around!– only to hear, “Oh, we haven’t started on it yet, still waiting for a cable,” WHAT?!?

So I capitulated to my need to record precious family moments and shelled out the cash for an inexpensive digital model. Sigh of relief. The blog continues.

Even more happy news: we got to see our precious twins this week! Well, the children did. They stopped by to visit while I was at work, but the children were home from school and, oh, happy reunions all around.

Their daddy was here to request a repair job on a hat they had. Not my work, I always sew my ends in TIGHT (well, except for that rainbow daisy afghan but I learned my lesson on that one, now didn’t I?)

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I easily saw where it had come apart, but could I re-crochet the loops or was it a sewing job? I did manage to hook and loop it back together, hurrah! They will be so pleased.

It is the most darling owl hat. I use this pattern when I make them:

http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2012/09/crochet-owl-hat-pattern-in-newborn.html

Fun with the new camera: I just love this shot I caught of my V-Stitch, playing with settings on my new camera. COLOR.

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Updates on a few projects hanging around the house…oh, bliss!

  1. The African Queen

With just a few rounds to go, I have decided to scrap this design and rework it as hexagons instead of strips. I don’t like it as it is, and I don’t think the intended recipient will either. Stay tuned for a colorful mass of hexies, reworked…

See more of her story here:

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/protea-or-osteospermum-the-lovey-african-flower/

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Some fun options for making your own hexagons and African flower motifs:

http://www.mooglyblog.com/free-crochet-hexagon-patterns/

http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/hexagon-howto.html

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/african-flower-hexagon-crochet-tutorial

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2) The South Bay Shawlette in gorgeous fall colors

I am in a bit of Unforgettable frenzy…I made a special trip to the city a few weeks ago and bought a dozen skeins of color I can’t get in town: Stained Glass, Echo, Sunrise and Polo.

This is Sunrise, with a J hook:

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Pattern here:

http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/90489AD.html?ss=

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Just gorgeous.

3) Priscilla Hewitt’s Polka Dot Stockings

My third daughter picked her colors for these…I have hopes of making one for each family member, but after two evenings of trying to assemble them, my hopes are rather dashed that I will be able to complete even one. I need to google this…the toe just isn’t quite right and the directions on assembly are little or no help.

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Pattern here, let me know if you figure it out: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/polka-dot-christmas-stocking

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4) And the owl hat, all fixed up!

Isn’t it precious?

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Happy Halloween! I am off to crochet. πŸ˜€

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Dainty Doily Delight

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Hello, Hello and Happy Tuesday!

May I welcome myself back from a lovely vacation? πŸ˜‰

It was a much-needed time; so completely detached from my usual tasks that I felt quite a different person, and was entirely refreshed.

Just before we left, I pulled several faded, mimeographed charts from my pile of patterns and worked up a bit of pretty cotton-acrylic blend.

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I wish I had a tub full of the stuff..that’s what it would take to make anything of substantial size!

Here’s the label:

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How anyone manages to buy enough fine yarn to make a sweater or camisole is beyond me; the cost is quite prohibitive.

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I contented myself with doing the first few rounds of this old chart. The fiber blend slipped so neatly between my fingers, and I love the stitch definition that comes from working with cotton.

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I really must pull out some of my finer thread and make another go at something long and lacy.

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Would you like to make one yourself? Here are a few patterns to choose from:

http://allcrafts.net/crochet/crochetdoilies.htm

Need something easy for a beginner? Maybe here:

http://www.favecrafts.com/Crochet/Free-Crochet-Doily-Patterns-for-Beginners

I could get lost on the internet, browsing patterns. Here are two more of my favorite search spots. Perhaps you need a new project!

http://www.garnstudio.com/

http://www.yarnspirations.com/

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Our vacation was such a lovely time away. I shall bundle it up into my happiest memories and keep it there, pulling it out to reminisce, as needed, during the long winters.

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May your summer be full of lovely tender moments and fair-weather fun!

Until we crochet again… ❀

Break Lace Beautiful Join, Part II

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Good Morning, lovelies! It’s that time again. πŸ™‚

I have spent two days rather frantically redoing an earlier afghan.

While I absolutely love the look of the babylovebrand celtic lace join (read my previous post about that here: https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/break-lace/ )

I found that the join would not lay nicely. I think I needed more chains in the corner. I ripped it all out and started fresh.

Since this is a gift for an upcoming event, I needed to finish sooner, rather than later, so I reworked my join and went with something simpler.

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It still has the pretty crosses between squares! And a lovely lacy look…I did a round of granny in white (3dc in ea sp), then a round of v-stitch (dc, ch 2, dc) across with a (3dc, ch 2 3dc) in the corners.

The next round was a bit trickier, but ended up being a double v-stitch (2dc, ch 2, 2dc) in the ch 2 sp, then a single dc in the next ch 2 sp, repeat across, then (3dc, ch FIVE, 3dc) for the corners.

For joining the squares I used a sc instead of the ch 2 in the v-stitch/shell to join to the ch 2 sp of the opposing square.

It’s working!

I can’t wait to finish joining and start playing with the edge. Something with wide, lacy shells, for certain.

Here are my happy piles of squares for joining:

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Coming along…just 8 of 30 squares to go, as of this morning…

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A close-up center shot…

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and more pretty pink– I just love these six-colored granny squares! I have another project in mind involving TWENTY-round grannies, next πŸ™‚

–stay tuned! And happy hooking πŸ˜€

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Pretty Poinsettias Plus {{30 Days of Christmas Crochet Cuteness}}

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I know. Christmas, for many of us, is over. My husband said the other day he was soooo ready for the radio station to return to the non-holiday playlist. I had to bite my tongue, and just nod sympathetically…I could happily listen to Christmas music year round. Yes, I know this is odd…I think that might be the best part of turning forty and aging gracefully…I don’t worry so much anymore.., about the shoulds! Much more interested in what is, or might be…

So, a last hurrah, before tucking away the garlands and glitz of the season. Lots of fun winter designs coming up: hats galore, mittens, boot cuffs, pretty scarves…and it’s never too early to start those sweet spring designs, either. Pinterest has already started trickling them onto my feed. But for now, one of my favorites

1) Poinsettia, the Christmas flower.

Ooo, love this one over at Ravelry. It reminds me of rabbit ears:

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Thank you to June Gilblank for the free pattern. Β http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/poinsettia-3

2. I looked longingly at pretty Christmas afghans throughout the holiday season as I bustled with my business orders…here is my favorite. It can also be done in non-Christmas colors for a stunning motif in any season. School or sport colors wound be neat as well.

Homecoming Queen of Bullions Square

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/homecoming-queen-of-bullions

3. A holly leaf over at Pinterest I have been dying to try…I might try my hand at a Christmas wreath for next year…

Crochet Holly and Berries - Chart  β₯ 4U // hf

4. And dear Lucy’s pattern over at Attic 24, one of my favorite places to visit…

http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/holly-leaves.html

http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/holly-leaves.html

4. A lovely tree skirt from Red Heart…

Crochet Tree Skirt

http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/crochet-tree-skirt

5. And a marvelous lacey scarf from Ravelry in Caron Simply Soft. I would make this with plain white squares in between, I think, as an afghan, I do notice the flower blankets can be a bit overpowering when every square is a bursting bloom! Placed in a checkerboard pattern with simpler squares in between the effect is more balanced and– stunning.

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http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/poinsettia-scarf-2

6. Now something a bit simpler: granny squares! The same pretty flora look, without the complication of shaping petals.

http://www.familyholiday.net/sparkly-christmas-granny-afghan

Phew, that will be enough flowers for a while! Onto something yummier later in the week: Gingerbread hooking!

And then we will break out the winter designs, dreaming of spring…have a lovely day! We will be trying to stay warm, here, with temperatures well below zero the next few days.

That’s What Little Girl Dreams Are Made Of

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We saw FROZEN yesterday! Yes, it was amazing. The music was beautiful, and the color design extraordinary. I fell in love with the Scandinavian motifs throughout. I look forward to crocheting and embroidering inspired new designs!

After the movie, we stopped at our local retailer to pick up some shiny blue fabric…
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And embarked on a craft adventure. I am relatively new to sewing…I have a quilt and about a half dozen small purses to my credit. And with the holiday crochet madness, my sewing machine has been quite ignored. Until today!
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A year or so ago, a friend of a friend– who just happened to have a bridal shop!– passed on to me a dozen discontinued wedding and bridesmaid dresses. I was thinking of making hand-dyed satin rosettes for hair and clothing accessories. Still am! Someday…but in the meantime, two or three of the dresses have been cut down and altered (by me, just guesswork!) to make pretty princess playdresses.
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We pinned the sides while she had it on, then removed her from the dress πŸ™‚ and sewed along the pin line. I used a piece of sleeve to hide where I cut off  the top edge. For the bottom edge, I trimmed it short in front, leaving a rounded train in back.  I used the sequined edge of a stole for front embellishment, just sewing it on the sides.
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So my little helper and I spent a pleasant couple hours before I had to go to work making the ice queen’s dress…at least in as much as this mom could manage!
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She likes it…when I got up this morning she had it on already, again. Ah, it’s the little things, truly. Simple family life for me, over the rest of the world, any day.

Update: we added a wig!
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